As Arizona enters the final week of the Pac-12 regular season, its chances of winning the conference title are slim.
However, the Wildcats are hoping to at least accomplish a bye in the first round of next week’s Pac-12 Tournament.
“It is very important because attrition,” Sean Miller said. “If you start playing more than three games, fatigue, injuries, and being able to have such high level effort in back to back nights is very difficult.
“Three times, when that ends, you need a few days off. It takes its toll and having a first round bye would be a significant advantage toward winning the tournament championship.”
The advantage that having a bye would give would likely be seen in the later part of the tournament.
“It might not be as big of an advantage in that second game,” Miller said. “Sometimes you have that one game under your belt and it gives the team that played maybe a little bit more comfort.
“No question, if your goal is to win the tournament a first round bye is very helpful. This year with the parity in our conference and quality top to bottom, it might be even more priceless.”
While fans may be worried about seeding, Miller does not want to assume anything.
“This is very much a separate deal,” he said. “I don’t want to be presumptuous and I think our team has done a lot of good things for us to feel we have a great opportunity to be in the NCAA tournament, but there is a lot of basketball to be played not just here at Arizona, but across the country.
“Teams are desperate in a good way this time of year and they reach back and perform and take down the giants in their conference tournament and play their best basketball because their back is against the wall.
“For us, it is about playing our very best against Cal on Thursday. I think that is our picture and it is about the next three days leading to it.”