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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Wildcats eye the Owls

Michael+Ignatov+%2F+Arizona+Daily+Wildcat%0A%0AUniversity+of+Arizona+mens+basketball+team+meets+Northern+Arizona+University+at+McKale+Center%2C+Tucson%2C+Ariz.%2C+Nov.+15%2C+2009.+In+their+first+game+of+the+2009-2010+season%2C+Arizona+up+51-31+at+the+half.
Michael Ignatov
Michael Ignatov / Arizona Daily Wildcat University of Arizona men’s basketball team meets Northern Arizona University at McKale Center, Tucson, Ariz., Nov. 15, 2009. In their first game of the 2009-2010 season, Arizona up 51-31 at the half.

Coming off a win against NAU, the Wildcats didn’t snap their heads around toward today’s match-up against the Rice Owls. First, they focused on learning from a tale of two halves against the Lumberjacks.

“”We have a lot to get better at, but in particular our emphasis is defensively,”” head coach Sean Miller said. “”We give those baskets up that you watch in a game and you almost ask yourself, ‘Which Arizona player fell down?'””

Standing on the opposite sideline will be a familiar face. Rice (3-0) head coach Ben Braun coached at Pacific 10 Conference foe California for 12 years and compiled a 219-154 record while leading the Golden Bears. He’ll again face Arizona (1-0) and two players he has coached against in senior Nic Wise and junior Jamelle Horne.

“”They play very hard,”” Miller said of Rice. “”They’re a physical team rebounding the ball. They have a good way of playing offense that will challenge our defense.””

But since Sunday, Miller’s concern has been with his own team. He said the team has been learning the most during video sessions. Time spent breaking down the NAU game has kept things in perspective for Miller’s young squad. Even if they thought they had played flawlessly, the coaches can always point to replays to show them there’s still work to do.

“”The film doesn’t lie,”” Miller said. “”That’s the great equalizer. The film of ourselves, watching us, that’s our greatest teacher.””

The Arizona roster is still in flux as far as starting lineups are concerned. Depending on match-ups and individual improvements, not to mention the coaches’ own inclinations to play with different lineups, the Wildcats could see several changes in the starting lineup until roles are solidified.

One such change could potentially be freshman forward Solomon Hill, who led the team in scoring with 17 points against NAU.

“”Solomon Hill, obviously is coming on,”” Miller said. “”He’s not only playing well in games but he’s becoming a better practice player.””

With fellow freshman guard Kevin Parrom out for four to eight weeks with a stress fracture in his foot, Hill will see more playing time, as will sophomore guard Brendon Lavender. Horne might also see more time playing the small forward position as Miller gives experience to freshmen big men Derrick Williams and Kyryl Natyazhko, who he eventually wants to put on the court at the same time.

And going into their second game of the Sean Miller era, the Wildcats will keep looking for continuity in their team defense and to build upon their last win. As long as they improve each day, Miller will be satisfied.

“”For us it’s really just about taking our own test,”” Miller said. “”How did we do against NAU? What did we do well? What do we have to improve on? We respect Rice a great deal but it’s about us getting better.””

 

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