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When meeting with the media on Wednesday, Sean Miller made one thing very clear: seeds don’t matter when the ball is tipped on Thursday.
“We have a very challenging match-up, which you expect in the NCAA Tournament,” Miller said. “For us it's not what seed we're at or where the game is located, it's that we have to be the best Arizona team that we can possibly be to have a chance to advance.
“We're in for one heck of a battle. I don't really care the seed, what we are, what they are. You come to this tournament expecting to play against some terrific teams, and we know Wichita State is that.”
Much of Arizona’s attention will be on Wichita State’s senior guards, both of which combine to make up one of the best backcourts in the country.
“Wichita State, I think what they've done with their program -- Greg Marshall is remarkable,” Miller said.
“Those two guards, I admire them. Baker and VanVleet, just the way they play the game, their leadership, the fact that they defend the way they do and play offense.
“So much is focused on the new players in college basketball, and in this game's case, you have an incredible backcourt that's already played in a Final Four against us.”
It’s nothing new, but Miller will once again emphasize that the Wildcats need to take care of the ball.
“Playing against Wichita State, I think it starts with taking care of the ball,” he said. “They play man-to-man, and although they press, generally when you play man-to-man, you're not a team that's known for turning the opponent over.
“But they do that as well as any team in the country, and they feed off of your turnovers, and they feed off of weakness, players that aren't ready, nonchalant passes, lack of concentration. They're the ultimate team that takes advantage of those things.”
The defensive credit doesn’t only go to Wichita State’s backcourt.
“Those two guards, it's them, but it's their entire team, to their team's credit,” Miller said. “For us playing here on a neutral court in this setting, we have to be able to play the game and really look back at the end and say, look how well we did taking care of the ball.
“When you don't, they're going to take advantage of those turnovers and just their overall team defense is too good I think for a lot of teams in this tournament to beat them.
“I think whoever is fortunate enough to play Wichita State and advance, you're going to have to take care of the ball, and that's a big, big emphasis for us.”