Tip your hat to Sean Miller

ANAHEIM, CA - MARCH 24: Head coach Sean Miller of the Arizona Wildcats gestures from the sidelines against the Duke Blue Devils during the west regional semifinal of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the Honda Center on March 24, 2011 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

TUCSON, Ariz. -- When you replay Arizona's Sweet 16 upset victory over Duke in your mind, one name stands out -- Derrick Williams. 

And rightfully so. He took all of the highlight dunks and three-point swishes that made Arizona fans' jaws drop throughout the season and put all of it into overdrive, taking his game -- and the Wildcats -- to a newfound level.

But while Williams' performance was one of the best individual showcases of the Tournament, there was another standout performance equally as integral in Arizona's victory -- only this one came from the sidelines. 

Wildcats second-year head coach Sean Miller went toe to toe with arguably the best active college basketball coach in the country in Mike Krzyzewski. 

Four national championships meets zero national championships. Three Naismith College Coach of the Year honors versus no such awards. Eight national championship appearances compared to zero. 

And Miller didn't flinch.

The 42-year-old head coach spoke at length on last Tuesday's press conference about Duke's never-ending energy and effort as a byproduct of Coach K's preparation. 

"There's not a more hard-playing, consistent team than them," Miller said two days before the game. "They take everybody's best shot and they don't flinch. Every team tries to match their intensity and effort and at best it's almost a wash."

It wasn't a wash on Thursday. Miller out-coached Coach K and beat him at his own game. After a ho-hum first half, Miller lit a fire under the Wildcats at half time, and it was that aforementioned energy and effort that catapulted Arizona into the Elite 8. 

There's a reason the Wildcats outrebounded the bigger Blue Devils 25-9 in the second half. There's a reason Duke shot only 37.5 percent from the field in the final 20 minutes. There's a reason nine different Wildcats scored and everyone not named Derrick Williams combined for 48 second-half points. 

It wasn't a coincidence Momo Jones led the second-half points with 14 points in the final 20 minutes -- Miller was a point guard for Pitt and won Big East Freshman of the Year in 1988. 

The players carried out the plan, but thank Mr. Miller. If the Wildcats were a veteran-laden squad, it would be easy to credit the players and only the players for the second-half turnaround.

But this is a group of predominantly 19 and 20-year olds with no NCAA Tournament experience, and Miller's taken them from out of the Big Dance a year ago, to the Elite 8 one season later. 

He's coached the Wildcats to 30 wins this season, something Lute Olson did only three times in 24 years. Yes, he's that good. 

Miller's done a remarkable job preparing this young team he used to label immature. He's brought out the best of each and every individual player on the grandest stage of all. 

So when you remember Arizona's 2011 Sweet 16 upset over Duke -- and the Wildcats' entire tournament run for that matter -- don't just recall Williams' tomahawk slams, think of the job Miller's done in his second year at Arizona. 

Think of the fact that he outcoached one of the best coaches in college basketball history. Remember Miller for the job he did preparing this team and helping them grow from an immature -- his words, not mine -- group of athletes into men who are one game from their first Final Four appearance. 

Tip your hat to Sean Miller. 

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