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They stand at 12-1 overall, the lone loss a close game to No. 12 Providence (13-1) in which they let a seven-point lead slip away in the final minutes.
They are ranked No. 8 nationally behind a comeback win at Gonzaga (in which they trailed by 10 at halftime). They have the nation’s longest active home winning streak at 47 games beating capable Mountain West challengers such as Fresno State, Boise State and UNLV.
The Arizona Wildcats have performed better than what might be expected overall at this point. Their lone returning starter from last season, senior center Kaleb Tarczewski, has played in only five games before having to allow a foot injury to heal.
Sean Miller has coached the last seven games with an entirely different starting lineup from last season’s team that advanced to the Elite Eight for the second consecutive season.
Miller is a bonafide Pac-12 coach of the year candidate. Ryan Anderson has surfaced as a legitimate conference player of the year possibility. Allonzo Trier is a serious contender for the league’s freshman of the year honor and Gabe York has a realistic shot of making the all-conference team. The other two starters — point guard Kadeem Allen and center Dusan Ristic — have played an important role in many of Arizona’s victories.
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“There was absolutely no way that Arizona should have been ranked first in the Pac-12’s preseason poll, but there’s a legitimate chance that the Wildcats could be in that spot at the end of the season because of the guy that’s pulling the strings on the sidelines,” writes CBSSports.com’s Jon Rothstein.
“The Wildcats don’t have what they’ve had in the past, but they still have a chance and that’s because of Miller.”
While the Wildcats have established themselves as one of the nation’s best once again, they have plenty opportunities to grow in many different facets. Presently, Miller’s team is good. They can be great by season’s end if they conquer the challenges that lie ahead in the daunting Pac-12 season.
The following slideshow lists the top five concerns for Miller as the Wildcats begin their conference season against a much-improved ASU team tomorrow in Tempe. CLICK ON THE NEXT ARROW TO THE RIGHT TO GET STARTED IN THE SLIDESHOW.