Sean Miller posted a tweet late Sunday night expressing his feelings about the criticism he's taken since Saturday. Some find it hilarious, some find it childish.
Finally to the people that try to make us feel like our season was a failure. Go cheer for ASU! #BearDown— Sean Miller (@UACoachMiller) March 30, 2015
Humorous because who doesn't love to make fun of a mediocre program such as Arizona State University? But with a lack of winning culture, tournament appearances and top 50 recruiting classes, Arizona State is still 9-8 vs Arizona since 2007-2008. Although since he's taken over in Tucson, Sean Miller has managed to hold an 8-4 record vs ASU. You can't win them all against your rival, but two of those losses were with arguably Miller's best teams at Arizona.
He's given Arizona three 30+ win seasons, three Pac-12 Conference Championships and three Elite Eight appearances. But you can't ignore the elephant in the room that is the lack of Final Four appearances from Sean Miller, arguably the best coach in the nation without such appearance.
Just think of some of the best coaches in the nation, who all have decades of experience. John Calipari, Tom Izzo, Mike Krzyzewski, Bo Ryan; all of which are in the Final Four this year. Throw in Bill Self, Jim Boeheim, Rick Pitino, Billy Donovan and some would say Kevin Ollie. None of these coaches would ever have to turn the attention onto their rivals. Their resumes speak for themselves.
But with this tweet, it seems as if Sean Miller is trying to deflect his lack of accomplishments and turn the attention to a program such as Arizona State. But that's comparing apples to oranges. The University of Arizona is claimed to be a basketball school, albeit a basketball school that hasn't been to the Final Four since 2001. Meanwhile, Arizona State has been to one Sweet 16 in program history.
Now, to put the blame on Sean Miller for Saturday's loss is pretty irrational. There's nothing he could have done differently at all to affect the outcome of the game. Wisconsin hitting 10/12 from beyond the arc in the second half is just a complete head-scratcher. You could say this was Sean Miller's best team he's had at Arizona. This was the year for them to win it all, especially considering they made it to the Elite Eight without Brandon Ashley the year before. But on Saturday, Wisconsin was clearly the better team and there's no shame in losing to the No. 1 seed in the region.
The standard at Arizona is high. Going forward, it's not crazy to think that 25 wins and a Sweet Sixteen appearance is the minimum we all expect out of this program. Of course you would like to compete for a National Championship every year, but that's just not how the tournament works.
So fast forward a few years. With the possibility of losing the starting five to graduation and/or the NBA Draft, it's hard to believe that Arizona can pick up where they left off this year, despite holding the No. 2 recruiting class in the nation. It'll certainly take some time for Miller to adjust without having one of the best lineups in the country and rebuild in the recruiting game. So by all means, go cheer for Arizona State if you're not happy with Sean Miller and what he's done in his six years at Arizona, but stick around and you'll be a part of something great.
But if Miller can't break down the door to National Championship, or even the Final Four, many will be questioning Sean Miller's abilities.