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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Column: Miller thanks fans, throws shade at UCLA

Arizona+head+coach+Sean+Miller+gets+heated+during+the+Wildcats+win+over+Pacific+in+McKale+Center+Friday%2C+Nov.+13.
Rebecca Noble

Arizona head coach Sean Miller gets heated during the Wildcats’ win over Pacific in McKale Center Friday, Nov. 13.

Forty straight games. 

That’s how many games in a row Arizona basketball has won in McKale Center, making it the nation’s current longest home win streak.

Instead of giving credit to his team or his famous motto, “honor the process,” Arizona basketball head coach Sean Miller gave a lot of the credit to Wildcat fans.

“Six o’clock tip, Bradley, 14,000,” Miller said after the Wildcats’ victory over Bradley. “I think part of what I hope our crowd feels is we won forty in a row tonight, and only at a place like Arizona would that streak not compare to others.”

MIller’s right. Arizona fans expect more. I mean, the longest home-court winning streak in McKale Center was 81 straight games.

“A lot of it has to do with just what an amazing crowd we have and what it feels like on game night here,” Miller Said. “I would just like to thank everybody, our crowd tonight on behalf of our team for showing up on a Monday, on a quick turnaround for a 6 p.m. start.”

While the Wildcats are surely far from the longest streak, they should feel proud of holding their current one. But they want more.

“There’s no excuses here in Tucson,” Miller said.

No excuses are right. In a college town like Tucson, citizens flock to see their favorite team dominate. You might as well just kiss anything you want to accomplish on game day goodbye.

Miller also took the chance to “throw shade” as CBS Sports writer Gary Parrish put it after the press conference.

“I watched a couple of games last night like, ‘Wow, that is amazing, who’s not at the game,'” Miller said. “I know there’s a lot of traffic. But you wonder if the season ticket was not printed the right way.”

He was throwing shade at UCLA, who had just 47.8 percent of the Pauley Pavilion filled at its game the night Miller was talking about.

“For us to experience the type of crowd every game,” Miller said. “I mean, Red-Blue … it’s not free. You have to pay to come to our Red-Blue game. To have 14,500 at the Red-Blue game … there’s a lot of programs with some of these early games and they cannot come anywhere close to 14,500.”

Miller continued the shade and probably boosted his recruiting efforts.

“It’s what separates us as a program,” Miller said. “As a young kid, why you would ever want to go to a program or a place where nobody comes to the game, that puts a lot of pressure on their recruiting. It feels like college basketball and we are very grateful to our fans.”

Miller will continue to put Arizona on that whole other level in the Pac-12 Conference, whether that means he will throw shade at opposing programs.

Many assume that T.J. Leaf has a lot to do with why Miller dissed the crowds in the first place. Leaf recently committed to UCLA after decommitting from Arizona in the summer.

UCLA head coach Steve Alford indirectly fired back, according to Bruins Nation.

“Now that we’ve been here two years, I think now these young players are seeing how we let them play,” Alford said. “We don’t handcuff them, we don’t micromanage, we give them the freedom to play through the teaching and fundamentals of what we’re trying to do.”

Who knows, this might heat up the UA-UCLA rivalry come Pac-12 Conference play.


Follow Matt Wall on Twitter.


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