With a pivotal two game stretch at Madison Square Garden, basketball’s greatest stage, a young Arizona team could potentially be distracted by the media hype surrounding the games. But head coach Sean Miller wants the team focused on their matchup with Drexel.
“If we go to Madison Square Garden with anything else on our mind, we’re going to be in the consolation game on Friday,” he said.
“They’re a team that’s going to win 20 or more games, I believe that they’re going to be in this year’s NCAA Tournament,” Miller added, giving Drexel high praise.
Miller has scouted Drexel extensively, and he gave a clear warning that the Dragons are better than people realize.
“I watched them play at Rutgers, I’ve watched them play at Illinois State, I’ve watched them play at UCLA. They could’ve beaten UCLA at UCLA and we all know how good UCLA is this year,” Miller said.
Miller also noted that Drexel is a team that already has experience playing away from home.
“Drexel is 3-1, out of the four games they played, they played three road games,” he said. “They’re as disciplined of a team, older, experienced, well coached, they have a toughness about them I wish and hope we could get.”
The Wildcats will have their hands full on defense, as Drexel boasts some quality players.
“They have three 1000 point scorers,” Miller said. “Chris Fouch, Damion Lee, and Tavon Allen, and Frantz Massenat, their point guard, could start or play in the rotation on every team in high major basketball. They’re not pretty good, they’re really good.”
“For us, our whole focus going to New York City is to be at our best on Wednesday against Drexel,” he said.
Miller acknowledged that the following days are a crucial period for the team.
“This is a very important time in our season because it’s one of the biggest windows we have from one game to the next, and at the same time we have a lot more information about our team,” Miller said.
He also underscored the significance of the Preseason NIT tournament, and what it means for the players.
“Being in this tournament is an honor,” he said, “It’s one of the historical tournaments in November of our game today. Playing in Madison Square Garden speaks for itself.”
“Playing against great competition on a neutral court, if you think about what that represents, that’s March,” Miller added. “That’s both our Pac-12 tournament and hopefully a post season tournament after that.”