Arizona coach Sean Miller chastises team for lack of effort after 35-point win

Arizona’s season hasn’t gotten off on the right foot, to put it lightly.

Head coach Sean Miller knows this, and has identified the main problem for the Wildcats: effort.

Now, Arizona’s 4-3 start has been incredibly disappointing, yes, but consider this: Miller made that comment after the Wildcats finished off a 35-point win over Long Beach State. It was a quality win after a startling 3-game losing streak that included losses to N.C. State, SMU and Purdue.

But it’s still not anywhere near to level at which Miller expects his players to play.

Since the coach chalks up Arizona’s struggles to effort — something that is completely controllable — Miller’s remedy is equally as simple.

So what will an increase in effort fix? Usually, it begins on defense. Everyone loves to shoot the ball; not everyone loves to defend.

Arizona allowed N.C. State to shoot 49.1 percent in the Wolfpack’s 90-84 win over the Wildcats, including 40 percent from beyond the arc. Against Purdue, it was even worse. The Boilermakers shot 57.4 percent from the floor and 50 percent from deep in a blowout win.

But on Wednesday night, the Wildcats’ opposition came back to earth. Arizona held Long Beach State to 41.2 percent from the floor and 30 percent from deep. The dropoff in competition level — LBSU is no Purdue — must also be considered. But it’s a start.

Another area of the game that will indicate effort level is in the rebounding category. In 2 of the 3 aforementioned games, the Wildcats won the rebounding battle by at least 8 boards. They lost it by 10 against Purdue.

Perhaps the lasting effect of the blowout loss was still wearing on Miller. Beating LBSU by 100 might not have been enough.

And for a program such as Arizona, it shouldn’t be. Fortunately, it’s early.

In the greater picture, there’s a decent amount of time for Miller to make the proper impression on his players that just because they wear Arizona on their chest, doesn’t mean they’ll walk away with an easy win (or a victory at all, in some cases). That begins with increasing the intensity and effort, which Miller clearly knows.

The competition level ramps up again fairly quickly, though, with games against UNLV, No. 9 Texas A&M and No. 24 Alabama in the next 10 days. The Wildcats better start trying much harder very soon.

The post Arizona coach Sean Miller chastises team for lack of effort after 35-point win appeared first on Diehards.

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