Arizona Basketball: The only thing more inexcusable than the loss to ASU are the fans calling for Sean Miller’s head


The Arizona men’s basketball team suffered a devastating loss to their rival, ASU, on Sunday in Tempe. The loss to the lowly Sun Devils (10-20, 6-12 Pac-12) could very well have cost the Wildcats a spot in the upcoming NCAA tournament.

Just six weeks ago, the Cats were coming off a tough loss at Colorado and were considered down and out…season over. They responded by going 8-2, including a sweep of the Bay Area teams on the road. They worked their tails off and put themselves right back into the NCAA tournament picture. All they had to do was close out the season with a win against ASU on Sunday. Easy, right? I mean, it was almost a foregone conclusion that this game was just another check mark in the win column. Local media outlets practically skipped over coverage leading up to the game and instead were looking ahead to the Pac-12 tournament. Well, the Sun devils came out with nothing to lose, scored a season-high 87 points on 56% shooting and 22-24 free throws in their biggest win of the season, upsetting the Cats 87-80.

Don’t get me wrong; coming from a fan that made the two-hour drive to Wells Fargo Arena to cheer on the Cats, this was extremely disappointing. I was furious and disgusted as I walked out of the arena and a perfectly beautiful Sunday afternoon was ruined. In fact, Monday wasn’t great either as I verbally attacked a co-worker with anger-infused swear words when he simply mentioned the game in my general vicinity (my apologies, Matt). As appalled as I was with the outcome of this game, I think it is absurd to hear fans calling for Coach Sean Miller’s job today. It shocks me that true fans would be ready to send Miller packing, In fact, I’m guessing that whoever is saying this stuff is not a true fan at all but more of a fair weathered fan.

Miller has done an unbelievable job coming in, commanding respect and picking up the pieces of a program dismantled by Lute Olson’s departure. Having issues remembering the team’s spectacular run to the Elite 8 last year? Oh wait, you probably pulled your red Wildcat shirts out of the bottom of your dresser and wore them around 4th Avenue for that three-week period while singing Miller’s praises. So your issue must be with this season, huh? Let’s take a look back then: The program loses their two best players in Derrick Williams and MoMo Jones, the incoming freshman with unreasonably high expectations put upon them naturally underachieve, a player gets kicked off the team for a bad attitude and injuries deplete a young and inexperienced team. Yet Miller leads his guys to a 21-10 overall record and 4th in the Pac-12 at 12-6. Pretty impressive record considering the circumstances.

Let’s look at some stats. In his first three seasons, Miller’s record is 67-32…better than Lute Olson’s (55-36) after the same amount of time in command. Out of the five coaches who have coached more than 100 games at the University of Arizona, Miller’s winning percentage is second at .672. This percentage is higher than that of Fred Enke, Bruce Larson and Fred Snowden. The only coach who has boasted a higher winning percentage was Hall of Famer Lute Olson. And Miller isn’t done yet.

Still want to fire Sean Miller? Well, you better send next year’s No. 1 ranked recruiting class out the door with him.

Thanks for reading!