Arizona vs. Colorado: Postgame Notebook

Sean Miller discusses the new venue, Rawle Alkins, and more.

* Rawle Alkins went scoreless in the first half, but finished the game with 15 points and was a vital part of Arizona’s success.

“I didn't think our team played as well in the first half,” Sean Miller said. “Give Colorado a lot of credit, but Rawle didn't play well in the first half. 

“You could see it on his face at halftime, and he wanted to play better. I worry about freshmen at this time, because this is the first time they've entered this March Madness that they've been watching for so long.

“It says a lot about Rawle how well he played in the second half. I thought the big reason he won the game and broke the game open was his overall good play. Not just that he had a couple threes, but he made a lot of good basketball plays and emerged in the second half, maybe on the heels of a sub-par half where he didn't play particularly well, which is a great sign for our team.”

* After being at the MGM Grand in the past, Arizona played its first game of the Pac-12 Tournament at the T-Mobile Arena. 

“It's awesome,” Miller said. “We made a great decision, the Pac-12 made a great decision. If you truly want to be the best, you have to be willing to play on the biggest stage. 

“I'm sure, like everything, the first year, although everybody's excited, it will only get better from here, because it's like when we moved the tournament from LA to Las Vegas, I remember the first year everyone kind of wondered, well, how will that feel, and then it grew and a lot of great things have followed. I think the same thing will happen with this new venue.

“There was a time a long time ago when a conference went to play in Madison Square Garden, and I'm sure in that first year when they did it, everybody wondered how it would be, and then it grew. 

“I think out here in the west, with us having the footprint that we do, this is how it should be, many playing in the best venue, the biggest crowds that we can possibly get and grow the tournament. You know, and our fans are awesome. They have a big stake in this growth.”

* Miller was asked about Arizona playing to its potential this week and felt that it is too early to be able to answer such a question.

“I don't really have the answer for that yet,” he said. “Fortunately, we play again tomorrow, so I think we'll know a lot more tomorrow. Coach Olson, to me, I've learned a lot from him with all the great teams that he had. 

“Some of the teams that you look at as the best in the history of our school didn't necessarily do well in the conference tournament. They used maybe the extra day of rest, maybe a lesson that they learned in the tournament. Then they caught tremendous momentum and played their best next week.

“No matter what happens this week, the one thing that I do know is it's about playing our best next week. We just played against Colorado, and let me tell you, they're a tough out. They have a lot of upperclassmen, great coach, physical. It was a good test for our team. We passed that test. 

“Tomorrow, guess what, the stakes grow. So every time we play on a neutral court, I think we gain more confidence, more experience. These guys are a fun team to coach. Sometimes when you're in bed at night as the head coach, you say, do we have it? Do we have that will?

“We have it. Whether we win or not, it's not going to be because of lack of effort or passion. These guys have been there from the first day in late August until now. They've given us every single thing that you can give as a team. Hopefully we can keep this going, whether it's this week or next week.”

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