If Arizona and Indiana can’t find a way to meet on the basketball court, it won’t be because the coaches don’t want it to happen.
Such a matchup has been on fans’ minds since the spring when Arizona coach Sean Miller’s younger brother, Archie Miller, was hired as Indiana’s head coach after a successful stint at Dayton. A brother-brother meeting in the first-ever matchup between college hoops powerhouses? Yes, please.
The Arizona Daily Star reported Sunday that the schools are in discussions, which Sean Miller confirmed to me at the end of an interview for an upcoming feature for Lindy’s College Basketball Annual.
“We’re in conversations with a TV partner and also Indiana,” Miller said. “It hasn’t happened yet. It could go either way. But there is certainly a possibility we could get a series together. I think it would be great for our programs.
“As much as this is about him being my brother, my decision-making is always about, what is in the best interests of Arizona. I think any time we could get a marquee program to come to McKale Center, that is something we always have to consider because it means so much for our great fans.
“In their case, they have equally great fans, and I think Indiana is simultaneously looking for a similar opportunity because some games in the past when they have had those traditional powers playing at Assembly Hall, those series have ended.
“In many ways, they want the same thing we do. If we can make it happen, it would be great.”
Arizona and Indiana have never met in men’s basketball.
The Star reported the negotiations are for a home-and-home series, starting in 2019 in Tucson, followed by a neutral-site game at Madison Square Garden in New York City in 2021.
“I think it would be an amazing story for two traditional powers to be playing in a home-and-home situation, with each of us on the sideline,” Archie Miller told me last week when I talked to him about the upcoming Lindy’s story.
“I think it needs to happen. I think he thinks it needs to happen.”
Archie was an assistant at Arizona for two seasons after Sean took the job in 2009.
“I think eventually, somebody will put us together in the tournament when we really don’t want to do it, so we might as well give them what they want,” Archie said about a regular-season matchup against his brother.
“It would be a great game, a great national story; it would be TV-made. At the end of the day, I know it would be a very hard game. But you don’t go wrong playing Arizona, and Arizona doesn’t go wrong playing Indiana.
“When it can happen, how it can happen, I’m not sure.”