3/14 Arizona Basketball Notebook

Sean Miller discusses numerous topics heading into Thursday's game against North Dakota.

* As Arizona entered Selection Sunday, the concern was more about location than seed and both seemed to work out well for the Wildcats.

“I’ve learned when you get a high seed, that is really what you look for,” Sean Miller said. “When you get a chance to stay close to home or not travel as far to the games, staying in the same time zone, that’s positive for your team. 

“Whatever seed we were going to be given and wherever we were placed, we’re fine. It’s about us playing really well and playing together, trying to build off this weekend.”

* Arizona is playing with the most confidence it has had all season and it has shown in the Wildcats’ play.

“I think we’ve grown,” Miller said. “The one unique situation we had this year has been well documented, Allonzo missed 19 games and returned to a team that was 17-2. 

“You’re going to go through a growing period there and we did, but I think right now everybody is sure of their role and understand what we’re doing and confident in all aspects of the game. 

“Confidence is a big part of sports. I think we have a humble team, a team that really knows what it takes. Make no mistake about it, I think we have a dream and group that believes in themselves.”

* One player that has struggled a bit as of late is Kobi Simmons, but Miller only had positive things to say about his freshman guard.

“Kobi has probably sacrificed more than anybody, but his attitude has been incredible,” Miller said. “Above and beyond what you can expect for somebody as young as he is. Kobi is one of the more talented kids that we have had and his future is incredibly bright. 

“Right now I think his focus is on winning. You get that feeling of winning a championship, you want more of that. We don't have six months left together. We might have one week, one game, two weeks, three weeks. 

“Now this is truly March Madness. I think all of our guys, Kobi included, are focused on our team trying to get as far as we can.”

* Allonzo Trier won the MVP of the Pac-12 Tournament and Miller took some time to praise his recent player.

“I think one thing about Allonzo, he has kind of a poker face when he plays, he loves the game of basketball,” Miller said. “He works as hard at the game as any player I have ever coached or been around.

“When you work at something that hard, it is tough to not be successful. You don't handle it well when things don’t go well because you expect to do well because of the tireless work you put in. 

“Nobody you want to go to battle with more than Allonzo. He is ready to go and he believes in himself. I think that belief is very contagious when you have somebody like him in your team.”

* The Wildcats’ opening game will tip close to 7 P.M. Tucson time and Miller joked that it was early when compared to last week’s tip times.

“We’re used to those nine o’clock starts,” Miller said. “One time in the tournament, I think it was at Xavier, we played a noon tipoff. 

“If you play a noon tipoff, it is almost bizarre because you’re playing on a weekday and every time you picture the NCAA tournament you picture a packed, sold out arena. In that case, it was barely filled. 

“I think at least the pageantry and setting will be in place. Among the many things I admire about our team, we have played at 11 A.M. twice, we have played in different time zone, very late games, and we have been ready. We have been consistent with our approach and hopefully we will be that way Thursday night.”

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