‘Cats Hoping Second Chance Brings First Opportunity

LOS ANGELES, CA-Sean Miller can almost taste it.

But to get to the dessert there’s still plenty left in the main course.

It’s only fitting a 2014 re-match with the West Region top-seed Wisconsin Badgers is…again…the only thing standing between Miller reaching his first Final Four. Saturday afternoon at Staples Center the Wildcats (34-3) will have the opportunity to wash away the bad taste left from last year’s 64-63 last-second loss just an hour or so south in Anaheim.

“Last year’s game could have gone either way, I think they know that,” Miller said after the ‘Cats dispatched stingy Xavier 68-60 Thursday night. “The one advantage I think we have is Wisconsin’s style is so unique. The way they move the ball. The way they play their man-to-man defense…the fact that we’ve prepared for them, we’ve played against them I think that we at least know what to expect.”

Wisconsin (34-3) is balanced offensively, but much like T.J. McConnell at Arizona, the Badgers also rely on a senior to make things happen. Last year the ‘Cats had no answer for versatile center Frank Kaminsky who scored 28 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Brandon Ashley, who missed last year’s tournament with a broken foot, will likely be assigned the task of slowing down the future NBA first-round pick.

The only real glaring change for Arizona this time around is the swapping of high-profile freshman stars. Last year it was Aaron Gordon, this year southern California native Stanley Johnson gets a crack at the Badgers.

It doesn’t sound like he and the ‘Cats will caught up in the moment.

“When you get an opportunity like this to get to the Final Four, you obviously want to take advantage of it.” he explained. “We’ve been doing this since November…from the first scrimmage that we had. Once we settle into the game everything [settles down]. As long as we defend and rebound we should be fine.”

Tipoff is set for 3:09 Arizona time.