Once again, an Arizona basketball season that began with great promise and high expectations fell short in the Elite 8.
It’s disappointing, yes. Frustrating, even. But angering? Please.
After the Wildcats fell to the Badgers — again — 85-78, Miller offered this while sitting next to T.J. McConnell and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson:
“I’m not going to apologize for being 34-4, and I’m not going to apologize for not making the Final Four. And neither should these guys. There are a couple of them that have won 69 games in two years, have been in the top 10 for every day that they’ve dribbled a ball at Arizona, and we lost to Wisconsin in two hard-fought battles at the Elite Eight. And if that’s a problem, I think you know what you can do.”
Right after another gut-wrenching loss, one where his team could do nothing to stop the 3-point onslaught the Badgers brought in the second half, that kind of raw emotion is understandable.
But more than 24 hours later, the fact that Arizona coach Sean Miller felt the need to send this tweet, even taking an unnecessary shot at ASU, shows Wildcats fans may need a little perspective.
So here you go:
This season’s 34 wins are the second-most in school history, only behind the 35 the 1987-88 ‘Cats put up en route to the school’s first-ever Final Four.
In Lute Olson’s first 10 years as Arizona’s coach, he compiled an NCAA Tournament record of 9-9, with one Final Four appearance.
In Sean Miller’s first six seasons, the ‘Cats are 11-4 in the Dance, with zero Final Four appearances.
Be disappointed. But don’t be the guy who, like my friend, sent a text saying it’s time to stop making excuses for the Wildcats for not making it to the Final Four.
Because really, since when is Arizona a Final Four regular? Though UA has one of the best programs in the country, contrary to popular belief, it is not on the same level as Duke, Kentucky, North Carolina or Kansas. It’s not even on the same plane as Michigan State. A top-notch program but not the best. That’s where Arizona is, and that’s where the school is trying to rise from.