The Arizona Wildcats lost their first game of this young season to the #6 Kansas Jayhawks Saturday night. There were some positives to take from the game, but not the usual ones. This wasn't a game of a weaker team improving their game and falling just short of defeating a much better team. No, it was clear that Arizona had the ability to win this game. It was a game that Arizona coach Sean Miller can point to, to emphasize fundamentals.
That's right, Arizona's lack of fundamentals cost them the game. Too many fouls, poor passing and ball handling, and sloppy play. Arizona had the best player on that court, Derrick Williams, but what does it matter if he's fouled out and watching from the bench?
I have every confidence in coach Miller here. I wholeheartedly believe that he will be pounding the mistakes of this game into the head of every player on his team, and will make them better for it. He's not some soft 'players coach', he's a leader, and his players are clearly improving. In the long run, this could and should be a game that Arizona fans can point back to at the end of the season. The game where Arizona was reminded to pay attention to the basics of basketball, and be mindful of fouls. It is still very early in the NCAA men's basketball season, so no need to fret. Arizona still looks like a good team. I'll go so far as to say I think they'll be in the NCAA tournament in March. But as impressive as they are, remember that this is year 2 of the Sean Miller era. This team is still learning as they go, and will make mistakes.
And if you're a fan of some other Pac-10 team? Look at the other side of that statement. Arizona will only get better as the weeks go on. Better prepare yourselves, Pac-10 fans. Because conference play is soon to come, and the Wildcats will surely be ready.
Still feeling bummed? Here's a video of a Derrick Williams 360 dunk to tide you over until the next win.