John Chaney. Lefty Driesell. Norm Stewart. Mark Few. Gene Keady.
The list of college basketball coaches to not make a Final Four has some notable names and in some cases include guys who won national awards, won over 700 games and even made the basketball Hall of Fame (Chaney). Bo Ryan was on this list a year ago. Not many people question the legitimacy of these coaches or their accolades, yet when you ask someone to rattle off the best college coaches, these names aren't popping out of people's mouths first, second, third, you get the point.
For Sean Miller, there's a LOT of time to remove himself from this conversation. He has as good a chance as anyone in the West Regional to do just that this year. He's been to three Elite Eights already, and twice at Arizona he has suffered tough one-point losses. Jamelle Horne's three pointer that was an inch long nearly did the trick in 2011 vs. the champion UConn Huskies. A year ago it was a back-breaking one point loss in OT to Wisconsin that kept him from punching that first bid.
The way he's recruited and the gap between Arizona and the PAC-12 should lead anyone to believe he'll regularly be in position to get to Final Fours, but sometimes things don't go to script. Jim Boeheim? He's been to one Final Four since their title in 2003. Gary Williams went the last nine years of his career without a trip. After a title, Jim Valvano didn't make it back his last seven years. There's plenty of examples you can use, but the point remains the same. Nothing is guaranteed in a sport with the one and done postseason format, and in Sean Miller's case, banking on future success for him in regards to the NCAA tournament is dangerous.
Is the narrative premature? Probably. After all he's fairly young, has only coached one, MAYBE two teams with Final Four talent before this year's. He has also very rarely underachieved relative to expectations for his team, which is a classic calling card for coaches who take heat for this time of year. Still, that's the life of a major division one coach at a power program. Sean Miller's recruiting and success in the regular season most of his time at Arizona (save his first year) has re-energized the Wildcats fanbase and has them craving a return to the Final Four for the first time since 2001.
The 2015 bunch is among the short list of national title contenders in the field. Frankly, being put in a region with Wisconsin, when both are probably top four teams in America is a tough draw, but the expectation from day one this season was Indianapolis. If Arizona fails to reach the Final Four again this season with a team that is deeper, more experienced and more talented than the one that played without Brandon Ashley a year ago, that narrative will only grow louder.
He almost certainly has heard the rumblings and whispers about it. Nonetheless, Miller would be the first to distract any attention on himself to his team and its goal of winning a national championship.
With that said, when it comes to Sean Miller at the present time, there's a large elephant in the room, it's very real, and it's not too fantastic.