Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley upset quite a few fans with his recent comments regarding the possibility of another team winning in Arizona.
Sean Miller was asked about those comments and downplayed the overall impact.
“I didn’t see the video,” Miller said. “A lot of people have told me about it. Bobby is a great competitor himself and the challenge as a coach is to get your team motivated and have your team motivated to play and run a program, build a program.
“Confidence is part of that and there are a lot of different ways to go about instilling that. I don’t think he meant that in a derogatory fashion towards our program or things here in Tucson as much as making sure his guys believe in themselves and know the objective is to be a tough team to play against and to win.
“I know him and I know where he is from and how he is wired and he is a great competitor. In today’s world, the behind the scene things can really be misunderstood and I think this is a classic example of that.”
Arizona likely does not need any extra motivation going into Thursday’s game.
“This is a conference game,” Miller said. “If we’re getting ready to play UCLA or USC or Oregon and you play them home and away, let’s face it, you have nine home games and you want to be at your best and win as many as you can.
“Winning on the road is not easy in conference play. Some of the best teams we have ever had here in the history of our program went through this conference getting road splits and home sweeps and at the end of the conference season those teams were right there to win the championship.”
The Wildcats will be favored over the Sun Devils, but Arizona is not about to overlook them.
“ASU is an outstanding three-point shooting team,” Miller said. “Looking at their style, especially with their guard play, they play with tremendous freedom and at a very fast pace.
“In transition they thrive because they have multiple three-point shooters on the court at once and in many cases those three-point shooters are dynamic at getting to the basket.”
In addition, Miller believes that ASU’s schedule has led to a deceiving record.
“They have played a very difficult non-conference schedule,” he said. “I don’t think their record is indicative of the quality of their team because they took on a couple losses a lot of us would have you tried to play the games they have played.
“They have a lot of quality on their team, a style where they can score in bunches, shoot the three-point shot better and more often than any team we have played.”