As winter transitions to spring and temperatures rise here in Arizona, we’ve come to expect the same in the way Sean Miller’s team plays down in Tucson.
This year is certainly no different.
Overcoming the loss of lottery pick Derrick Williams and transfer of guard Lamont “Momo” Jones to Iona, the young ‘Cats (16-8, 7-4) struggled to establish their identity before hitting their stride sweeping Cal and Stanford in northern California last weekend.
Going into Thursday’s game against surprising Colorado (16-7, 8-3) at McKale Center, UofA finds itself just two games behind Pac-12 leader Washington (16-7, 9-2).
“I feel like once again Sean Miller’s team finds a way to gain momentum towards the end of the season,” ESPN analyst and former Duke Naismith College Player of the Year Jay Williams told Brad Cesmat Tuesday on “Big Guy on Sports.” “I like Nick Johnson. I like Josiah Turner. I like the fact Kyle Fogg is coming into that groove.”
With the exception of a re-match against the Huskies in Seattle next weekend, the Cats will likely be favored in every other game, with five of their last seven in the state of Arizona. UofA closes out the regular season in Tempe on March 4th.
Williams feels the skies the limit down in the Old Pueblo this spring.
“I think they’re a team that potentially could make a run at [the national championship] towards the end,” Williams explained to Cesmat. “They have the talent.”
ESPN Analyst Jay Williams on ‘Big Guy on Sports’
Arizona, coming of their run to the Elite 8 last season, certainly have found the right coach in Miller, who flirted with Maryland this past off-season, before agreeing to a contract extension at UofA in May.
“He is one of the most competitive and fiery individuals I’ve ever met,” Williams said. “He wants to win every single basketball game. He’s one of the top coaches in the country.”
UofA, already without the services of Kevin Parrom who will is out with a broken foot, likely won’t have Jordin Mayes against the Buffaloes and Utah on Saturday. Miller told reporters at Tuesday’s practice the sophomore guard has a stress reaction in his foot and probably won’t play this weekend.