Arizona Basketball: Sean Miller's Rotation Beginning to Tighten

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Arizona Basketball: Sean Miller's Rotation Beginning to Tighten
USA TODAY Sports

Before the season began, many Arizona supporters believed that head coach Sean Miller would play a ten-man rotation.

I was not one of them.

Rotations shrink, whether due to injury, one player distinguishing himself above another or a certain combination clicking.

The best way to evaluate who a coach trusts is simple: look at who is on the floor in close games. So far, Arizona (7-0, No. 8 AP) has played three relatively close games—an 82-73 win over Charleston Southern, a 63-55 win over Southern Miss and most recently a 66-54 win at Clemson.

The 'Cats have also played four laughers—a 72-51 win over UTEP, a 94-72 win over Long Beach State, a 93-50 win over NAU and an 85-57 win at Texas Tech.

As expected, Miller's rotation has tightened substantially in the former. Here is a breakdown of the way Miller has distributed minutes in each, and five conclusions we can draw from it:

Player Minutes in Close Games Minutes in Blowouts
Solomon Hill 34.0   27.0
Nick Johnson 33.0   25.3
Mark Lyons 30.7   24.0
K. Tarczewski  25.0  21.8
Kevin Parrom  22.3  18.8
B. Ashley  21.3  22.3
Grant Jerrett 13.3   18.5
Jordin Mayes  12.7  16.0
Angelo Chol  6.3   12.5
Gabe York  1.3   8.0
Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports
Freshman guard Gabe York appears to the be the odd man out.

 

1. A ten-man rotation it is not.

I suspect that in close games moving forward, Miller will go seven or eight deep. Thus far, that's exactly what he's done with one exception: Against Charleston Southern, nine players netted 10 or more minutes.

 

2. Gabe York is the odd man out.

The freshman guard isn't seeing the court in close games. He played four minutes against Charleston Southern, but saw no action against Southern Miss and Clemson. 

 

3. Kaleb Tarczewski is gaining trust rapidly.

Miller's confidence in big man Kaleb Tarczewski seems to be growing by the game. Zeus' minutes have increased in each of the 'Cats three closest contests—16 against Charleston Southern, 26 against Southern Miss and 33 against Clemson.

 

4. Angelo Chol has fallen behind.

Angelo Chol's minutes have decreased in each of Arizona's three closest games—11, 5 and 3. His diminished role is further evidence that Miller may only go seven or eight deep in big games while favoring his three freshmen big men over the sophomore.

 

5. Sean Miller trusts Kevin Parrom when the game is in doubt

Though Parrom comes off the bench, he plays starters' minutes, especially in tight contests. Look no further than the Southern Miss win to see how Miller feels about Parrom. Arizona's zone-buster played nearly the entire second half and sparked a Wildcats rally.

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