Arizona is halfway through the basketball season and is ranked No. 14 in the country. It is tied with Stanford at 4-1 at the top of the Pac-12 Conference and is 14-4 overall.
“I think we are doing pretty good,” said Arizona sophomore Rawle Alkins on Monday.
Arizona coach Sean Miller wasn’t exactly sure what to make of his team’s overall performance at the halfway point.
“I think a lot of questions remain (about) where do we go from here?” Miller said Monday in his weekly press conference.
So, where does Arizona go from here? Through the years, Arizona, under Miller, has had better records to this point – and others not so much. Only twice have they had more than four losses at the halfway point.
What is clear to Miller is that “we’re a much better offensive team than defensive team.”
His biggest concerns are whether Arizona will stay the same on the defensive end “or slip even more. Or can we work to improve?”
He said his team has showed signs of improvement in parts of games and from game to game but “numbers don’t lie.”
Arizona has continued to give up easy baskets near the basket and from the perimeter. Lapses happen far too often.
“We’ve won because of our exceptional free-throw shooting and our offense has been efficient, maybe not as efficient the last two weeks but offensively our numbers have been good,” Miller said.
It’s the defense that has “a lot of room for growth.”
There’s still a sense UA could get even better offensively. Against Oregon, all five starters scored in double figures, and UA scored 90 points. The parade of scoreboard points seem like it could/should happen more.
Miller said in order for that to happen there needs to be quick ball movement and the team needs to play better together making it more seamless.
Those things can happen and in “time will work out,” he said. Typically, he said, maybe by February. That’s assuming if everyone is healthy.
Alkins said he’s still finding his way as is Arizona and “it’s still kind of a new feeling” with him on the floor after missing the first two months.
“I don’t think we’ve been clicking as much as we can,” he said. “The best is yet to come.”
On defense, Miller however, said that’s debatable because “things could go either way.”
Welcome to UA
There will be another big-time coach at UA come Tuesday when Kevin Sumlin is introduced as the school’s new football coach. Monday, Miller was asked about Sumlin.
“I’m probably like everybody: Excited to welcome him and his family to Tucson,” Miller said. “Certainly he’s an excellent football coach. I know he has an exciting style and I’m excited for our football players. It’s something I’m sure they’re really excited about when you consider the success that he’s had as a coach coming from the SEC and some of the players he’s coached as well.”