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Arizona may be the favorite Wednesday against Texas Southern, but the Wildcats certainly aren’t taking them lightly.
“Texas Southern is a very good team,” Sean Miller said. “Anytime you win four road games, it says a lot about who you are. I don’t care where those games are played at, it’s not easy to travel.
“It’s not easy to play at someone’s home gym, especially at the brink of the start of things where everybody has energy and a lot to play for.”
Fans may remember Texas Southern from Arizona’s first round matchup in the NCAA tournament two years ago.
“We are familiar with them because we played against them two years ago in the NCAA Tournament,” Miller said.
“I think they are a team this year, I’m sure they feel this way, has every reason to feel they will be in this year’s NCAA Tournament field.
“When we played Texas Southern two years ago, I just happened earlier in the season watch the Texas Southern-Michigan State game around Christmas and that really got my attention because that game Texas Southern went to Michigan State and won.
“They have not stopped. They are the team that every November and December plays everybody tough and beats somebody that gets the nation’s attention and moves through their conference season and tournament and end with 20 wins.”
Texas Southern’s strength lies in its back court and Texas A&M transfer Derrick Griffin.
“They have an outstanding back court,” Miller said. “They have one of the best athletes that I have seen, Derrick Griffin, who plays the five or the four for them.
“He played with the Harrison twins years ago on the summer circuit and I think one of the best college recruits during his time. He has transferred from Texas A&M to Texas Southern.”
Griffin is a freak athlete and has put up early numbers to back that up.
“Looking at his offensive rebounding, I have never seen that many offensive rebounds on a stat sheet through six games,” Miller said. “He is leading the nation and shooting 77 percent from the field on top of that.
“You combine with three-point shooting back court that I think is a high major back court and could be a back court in our pac-12 conference, we have to be ready to go and I fully expect one heck of a battle.”
Additionally, Miller has respect for Texas Southern coach Mike Davis.
“They are a very well coached team,” Miller said. “Mike (Davis) has been around. He’s been in the Final Four as the head coach at Indiana, he’s coached in the Big 10, was a great player himself, an assistant coach before that, did an outstanding job at UAB, and now he is doing an outstanding job at Texas Southern. He knows what to do. He recruits very talented kids.
“A lot of them are older because they have been at a four-year institution or maybe a junior college prior to going to Texas Southern. They play with tremendous discipline and poise and they have purpose to what they do. Offensively, his players are in the right place on the court and have great spacing.”