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ESPN: Sean Miller’s Arizona Wildcats are a vulnerable giant

Arizona head coach Sean Miller reacts to a foul call in the first half during an NCAA college basketball game against Utah, Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

The Arizona Wildcats started the season off as the No. 3 ranked team in the country. However, after some questionable losses this season, some aren’t convinced that Arizona is poised for a run in March.

According to ESPN Insider John Gasaway, Arizona and Oklahoma are two strong teams that have some striking vulnerabilities.

For the Wildcats, their biggest weakness lies in the team’s defense.

This is the most suspect defense we’ve seen in Tucson in a good many years. Sean Miller’s group has been good enough on that side of the ball in Pac-12 play, but good enough isn’t customarily how we describe the defense of an Arizona team on track for a No. 3 seed.

Arizona knows the team’s struggles on that side of the ball. Miller even said Monday that in his 14 years of coaching “this may be the worst defensive team.”

However, there is one aspect of the Wildcats’ defense that the team does well.

True, Miller’s guys really know how to chase opponents off the 3-point line. No defense has held Pac-12 opponents to a lower rate of attempts from beyond the arc, and that has played to this defense’s strengths. Arizona is pretty fair at forcing misses on 2-point attempts, ranking No. 3 to this point in Pac-12 play.

While the Wildcats don’t allow a lot of threes and the defense is better than most Pac-12 teams, Arizona is still allowing 1.04 points per possession. That’s good for 160th in the country and this could be the first time in the last five years that the Wildcats won’t be within the top 50 in defensive efficiency.

Defensive questions aside, the Wildcats are still 16-2 since getting beat three straight times in the Bahamas, and both of those losses were by only three points.

With seven more games left in the regular season and the Pac-12 tournament, Arizona still has a chance to fix up its defense and polish up its game before the NCAA tournament begins.


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