Gritty Point Guard T.J. McConnell Has Helped Arizona Reach No. 1

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Gritty Point Guard T.J. McConnell Has Helped Arizona Reach No. 1
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

When Wildcats coach Sean Miller breaks up fall Sunday practices at the McKale Center by announcing, "It's time to watch the greatest football team on the planet!" -- referring to the Steelers -- he elicits gusts of laughter from his players, most of whom hail from California and Arizona. But junior point guard T.J. McConnell gets it. He pads around the off-campus duplex he shares with six teammates in black-and-gold slippers. He knows the heft of a Primanti Brothers sandwich. He remembers the deep chill of a western Pennsylvania winter, and he is happy to exchange a congratulatory, "You can't beat this weather!" with his coach whenever the temperature differential between Pittsburgh and Tucson approaches 50°.

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