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Pac-12 basketball media day: Arizona looks to move on from shocking loss

October 28, 2011 |  6:20 pm

Arizona3Arizona Coach Sean Miller showed up to Pacific 12 Conference media day Friday already behind.  

"I guess I'm the only coach up here who is 0-1," he said as he sat down on a stage about to address reporters, "and it happened really quickly."

Miller's team suffered a shocking upset Thursday night to Seattle Pacific, a Division II school, losing 69-68 in an exhibition game at Tucson.

How shocking was the loss for a team that won the league and was a missed three-point shot away from advancing to the Final Four last season? 

Quite. It was the Wildcats' first exhibition loss since 1984, when former Arizona coach Lute Olson's second team lost to Athletes in Action, 81-80.  

"Sometimes a lesson like we learned last night is the greatest lesson you can learn, and that really segues into this year's team," Miller said.

"That is, we're not the team that was in the Elite Eight. We're a brand-new team."

The Wildcats return three starters from last season's 30-8 squad, but they lost Derrick Williams, the Pac-10 player of the year and a first-round NBA draft pick of Minnesota. 

Arizona was picked to finish third in the preseason media poll, but Miller doesn't buy that.

"There's no way in the world we're the third-best team in the Pac-12," Miller said. "You can say every coach says something like that. I didn't say that last year. Hopefully I won't say it next year, but I'm saying it now. There is no chance at all that's where we are."

The Wildcats' showing against Seattle Pacific made that much clear. 

"So for us right now, to me, we had our humble pie," Miller said. "I credit Seattle Pacific. We play Humboldt State, by the way, on Tuesday, and people tell me they're every bit as good. I think that will be a war." 

Washington faces Seattle Pacific -- "the mighty Seattle Pacific," Huskies Coach Lorenzo Romar noted -- in its first exhibition game at 7 p.m. on Nov. 4 at Edmundson Pavilion in Seattle.

What did Romar think of Arizona's game against that team?

"My thoughts are that in an exhibition game, it's a time to experiment," he said. "It's a time to teach. It's a time to learn. I am very fortunate. We're fortunate that we didn't have an exhibition game last night, trust me."

Romar said the way he sees it as a coach, Seattle Pacific showed Arizona that it's not the team it used to be, even if Arizona's players thought differently. 

"So a game like that can do a lot more good for a team than if they were to play someone and blow them out by 50 or 60 and give them a false sense of who they were," Romar said. 

Seattle Pacific finished 11-20 last season, but don't expect the Huskies to take the Falcons lightly.


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-- Baxter Holmes

Photo: Arizona Coach Sean Miller takes part in Pac-12 Media Day in Los Angeles on Friday. Credit: Kirby Lee / U.S. Presswire