Arizona Season Review: A Look Back at Sean Miller's First Season in Tucson

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Arizona Season Review: A Look Back at Sean Miller's First Season in Tucson
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When Miller was introduced as Arizona's next head coach, he promised that he was there to build a program and not to solely continue the streak.  He originally turned down former Arizona Athletic Director Jim Livengood.  He changed his mind and decided to take over and step into Lute Olson's gigantic shoes the next day.  His first task was to salvage a recruiting class and then try and convince point guard Nic Wise to return for his senior season.  Many thought if those two things happened, then playing in 26 consecutive NCAA Tournaments was within reach.


Once Miller was committed to Arizona, former Wildcat verbal commitment Solomon Hill reneged to USC and re-committed to the Wildcats. Miller was able to follow Hill up with former Xavier recruit Kyryl Natyazhko and Musketeer signee Kevin Parrom.  Later in the spring when Tim Floyd left USC, former Trojan signees Lamont "MoMo" Jones and Derrick Williams signed on at Arizona.  Adding the the successful spring haul was that Wise decided to return for his senior season.  He would later say that Miller's first recruiting class played a large part in his decision to return. 

Arizona began the season with home victories over Northern Arizona and Rice before heading west to compete in the Maui classic.  They lost to Wisconsin in their opener, defeated Colorado in the consolation semifinals and lost to Nationally Ranked Vanderbilt for fifth place.  They followed up their trip with a double overtime loss to nationally ranked UNLV. A blowout loss at Oklahoma in the Big XII-Pac 10 hardcourt classic was the Wildcats fourth in five games.  A 3-4 start put them in a hole for a young team that was learning a new system and how to play together.  They would stay inconsistent until mid-January.  

Star freshman Williams was starting to take control and the Wildcats ripped off four straight wins in the second half of the month to earn a share of the conference lead at the halfway point of the season.  With a 12-9 overall record, and 6-3 in the Pac-10, it seemed like extending the streak was a real possibility.  

When Arizona made the tournament in 2009, an incident involving Chase Budinger and Aubrey Coleman of Houston seemed to give the Wildcats momentum.  A similiar incident occurred in 2010 with UA Parrom and ASU Guard Ty Abbott.  Parrom and Abbott received double fouls and Parrom received a technical after Parrom fouled Abbott hard on an Abbott breakway attempt.  Arizona extended a ten point lead to 18 after the play with a 9-1 run.  They went on the defeat the Sun Devils by 19 and won two more in a row as part of the four game win streak.  

Losses at Washington and Washington State plummeted Arizona into losing five out of seven and out of contention in the Pac-10 race.  With wins in their last three regular season games to guarantee a winning record and a fourth place finish in the Pac, Arizona seemed assured of a bid to the NIT. A loss to UCLA in the P10 tournament and losses by regular season champions of other leagues, Arizona did not receive a bid to the nation's oldest tournament.  The Wildcats made it clear the only post season tournament they would consider besides the NCAA was the NIT.  Their season ended in Los Angeles.  Their post season streak would end at 25 seasons.  Their 16-15 record extended their streak to 26 winning seasons.


Arizona began the season with home victories over Northern Arizona and Rice before heading west to compete in the Maui classic.  They lost to Wisconsin in their opener, defeated Colorado in the consolation semifinals and lost to Nationally Ranked Vanderbilt for fifth place.  They followed up their trip with a double overtime loss to nationally ranked UNLV. A blowout loss at Oklahoma in the Big XII-Pac 10 hardcourt classic was the Wildcats fourth in five games.  A 3-4 start put them in a hole for a young team that was learning a new system and how to play together.  They would stay inconsistent until mid-January.  

Star freshman Williams was starting to take control and the Wildcats ripped off four straight wins in the second half of the month to earn a share of the conference lead at the halfway point of the season.  With a 12-9 overall record, and 6-3 in the Pac-10, it seemed like extending the streak was a real possibility.  

After falling to 13-14, Arizona closed the regular season with three straight wins.  At two games over .500, the NIT seemed like a given.  A loss to UCLA in the Pac-10 tournament first round and other conference tournament upsets likely ended the Wildcats' NIT aspirations.  

When Arizona made the tournament in 2009, an incident involving Chase Budinger and Aubrey Coleman of Houston seemed to give the Wildcats momentum.  A similar incident occurred in 2010 with UA Parrom and ASU Guard Ty Abbott.  Parrom and Abbott received double fouls and Parrom received a technical after Parrom fouled Abbott hard on an Abbott breakaway attempt.  Arizona extended a ten point lead to 18 after the play with a 9-1 run.  They went on the defeat the Sun Devils by 19 and won two more in a row as part of the four game win streak.  

Losses at Washington and Washington State plummeted Arizona into losing five out of seven and out of contention in the Pac-10 race.  With wins in their last three regular season games to guarantee a winning record and a fourth place finish in the Pac, Arizona seemed assured of a bid to the NIT. A loss to UCLA in the P10 tournament and losses by regular season champions of other leagues, Arizona did not receive a bid to the nation's oldest tournament.  The Wildcats made it clear the only post season tournament they would consider besides the NCAA was the NIT.  Their season ended in Los Angeles.  Their post season streak would end at 25 seasons.  Their 16-15 record extended their streak to 26 winning seasons.
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