Arizona Basketball

Pac-12 looms with Arizona Wildcats 11-2 — will they get good news soon?

Arizona coach Sean Miller continues to say he can’t talk about Allonzo Trier but who is to say he can’t hint a bit.

Ok, maybe nothing specific to Trier and his indefinite suspension but Miller pointed out that there have been just about a handful of games where Arizona played with just more than seven scholarship players.

“If we could get some good health and good news moving forward, it would be good to have our full allotment of players,” Miller said. “If that’s the case, I think this team has a big upside and some of our experiences our young guys have received because of the circumstances can really add and make us a little further along in conference play than we otherwise would have been.”

It was quick and subtle and there was a small plea for some good news.

On Tuesday night, in Arizona’s 77-46 win over New Mexico, Miller got as much good news as possible not involving Trier or Parker Jackson-Cartwright, who remains out with a high-ankle sprain.

Arizona won big.

Here are three things Arizona can take away from the win.

Confidence is a good thing

UA sophomore Chance Comanche can play when he wants to and he feels strongly about his situation.
Miller said confidence has a lot to do with it after Comanche played his “best game he’s played this season, maybe in two seasons. Maybe he showed not only us but himself that in a process things just don’t happen right away. You go through the bumps that come with a bigger role. You learn what to do and not to do.”

He scored 14 points and pulled down eight rebounds.

Comanche, who has been in Miller’s doghouse a couple of times this season, said it was a case of “clearing his head and playing basketball. Play like I do in practice. Coach said if I do that I’ll see results in the game and that’s what happened.”

Miller said he just wants Comanche to play with a lot consistency and energy.

“He’s blessed with some amazing talent,” Miller said. “He’s 6-foot-11, he runs and jumps effortlessly. He’s really smart and plays two positions. He (needs) to play really hard and use that talent. Tonight he did.”

Miller said the best is yet to come from Comanche.

Is Arizona ready for the Pac-12?

It starts in nine days. But Miller said Arizona has seen a lot from opponents to make him feel like his team is ready, given a few more practices.

“You never know until you are in it,” Miller said.

Six games away from McKale and a number of defenses. And Texas A&M, Gonzaga, Butler and Michigan State were all different tests. “Each had their own strengths,” Miller said.

“We’re better because of it,” Miller said of the schedule.

Said Comanche: “I think we’ve been ready for awhile and not that it’s actually here (it’s) like ‘oh, wow, it’s a week away’ but I think we’re going to be more than ready. The team has to be focused and know what it’s going into. We’re going to have to fight for the win.”

Depth is a problem, but …

Arizona doesn’t go deep in the lineup and that has been well-documented. But it’s getting contributions from everyone, making for a balanced lineup. Tuesday was one of those nights. Five players were in double figures with Comanche leading the way with 14 points. Lauri Markkanen had 13 points as did Rawle Alkins. Kobi Simmons and Kadeem Allen had 11 points apiece.

“They’re good,” said New Mexico coach Craig Neal. “They’ve got good size. Markkanen does some good things, he’s got good size, he can play the perimeter. (Dusan) Ristic is a lot better than, I think, people give him credit for. Their guards are good. They’ve got seven players, but they’ve got a good rotation going. They are really good, they know their roles. They move the ball, they guard you. It’s hard to score on them.”

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