The month of March can be an unforgiving time for college basketball coaches.
Far too often lofty expectations can lead to disappointing, premature endings.
No one has to remind University of Arizona head coach Sean Miller, whose quest for his first Final Four will lead just a short two-hour drive up I-10 to Glendale. The Wildcats seemed to have found their footing over the past couple weeks winning the Pac-12 Conference Championship and reaching the Sweet 16 without too many speed bumps along the way.
“I love Arizona,” CBS College Basketball Analyst Steve Lappas said to Sports360AZ.com’s Brad Cesmat in a phone interview Monday morning. “They are a terrific two-way team. One of the things I like about them is they are a really good two-speed team.”
Lappas provided color analysis for the Cats’ opening round wins over North Dakota and Saint Mary’s.
Even with a potential match-up against West Region top-seed Gonzaga looming if UofA can handle Miller’s former school Xavier, Lappas feels Arizona’s ability to play different teams at different paces will only benefit them the later they play in March.
— Arizona Basketball (@APlayersProgram) March 20, 2017
“They adapt very well to playing at different speeds,” the former Villanova and UMASS head coach explained to Cesmat. “I think in the NCAA tournament that really helps you out.”
Although the ‘Cats are balanced offensively, Lappas says when the game is on the line or Arizona needs a basket, they know who to turn to.
“When push comes to shove, it’s going to be [Allonzo] Trier and [Lauri] Markannen,” Lappas said. “I think we know Trier and Markannen are where they’re going when they need a basket.”
The Wildcats and Musketeers tip off Thursday night in San Jose at 7:09 Arizona times after Gonzaga takes on West Virginia.