12/30 Arizona Basketball Notebook

Arizona is heading into Pac-12 play and Sean Miller took time time Tuesday to discuss numerous topics.

* When looking back at the non-conference season, Sean MIller sees plenty of positives.

"I think there are some things we feel very good about," Miller said. "I think our defensive rebounding stands out, though it will be tested at a much greater level over the next couple of months in conference play.

"I think if you would say to anybody that knows our team or program that you are going to take Kaleb Tarczewski out of the equation or for that matter Ray Smith, who I think as a wing player gives you a lot of versatility and helped your rebounding on both sides.

"Eliminating both of those guys from the equation I would have been even more worried than I am about our rebounding, but I think that is something we feel very good about and are well aware that will hold great importance in the next 18 in our conference season."

* It's not all good, however, as Miller would like to see the Wildcats improve defensively.

"There are a number of things we have to get better at," he said. "Looking at our last game against Long Beach State, we did not play well defensively there.

"Sometimes it starts with how hard we are playing as a group or unit and I think that is something we have to keep getting better at. We’ve had times where we have played extremely hard on defense and together for a long period of time, but there are also moments in games where we don’t.

"I think we are a growing team defensively. We are working very hard on that side. We know we are going to have to be a better defensive team in conference play than we have through the first 13 games."

* Arizona's first Pac-12 game will be against Arizona State and Miller remembers how good of a college player current ASU coach Bobby Hurley was.

"I don’t think everybody completely realizes how great of a player he was," Miller said. "He was not only a two time National Champion, but he might have been the actual best player on those teams.

"How talented he was, how fast and quick he was. I know he dealt with an accident early in his NBA career, but in my opinion if that didn’t happen he would have been in the NBA for a long time."

* When Miller looks at Arizona's Pac-12 slate, he sees a conference that is the deepest it has been in years.

"I think from top to bottom, the depth of our league and quality of all 12 teams is the deepest conference we have competed in as a coaching staff," Miller said.

"I think we have a strong top, an equally strong middle, and whoever finishes at the bottom I think they will be among the better bottom teams that have finished in the Pac-12 in recent seasons.

"We probably haven't gotten enough credit over recent years when you consider the number of teams that have gone to the Sweet 16 or in our case the Elite 8. With that, I think it is even better this year."


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