You can hear it in his voice. This one was different.
"Words cannot express how much I care about you guys," Miller is heard telling his team in the celebratory locker room shortly after walking off from a 73-60 win over ASU, a win that gave the Cats the fourth conference title in the Miller era. "This wasn't easy," he says. "We're 16-2 and you understand this isn't something happens just cuz we're Arizona."
After a lack luster first half that saw the Cats shoot 34% from the floor, Arizona returned from the locker room energized and ready to finish what they had set out for in November. Between Allonzo Trier's absence, the loss of Ray Smith, and the injuries that seemed to mount up, nothing seemed to faze this Wildcat team, at least not outwardly. And on this Saturday, the same day Lauri Markkanen was named one of the 10 finalists to the John Wooden award, the same day Rawle Alkins grabbed 15 rebounds (more than half of ASU's total rebounds), the day that Trier lead the game with 19 points, Arizona made sure to send a message to the rest of the country. Beware.
Sure the Cats will share this title with Oregon who beat Oregon State. And sure the Cats enter the Pac-12 Tournament as the 2 seed instead of the top seed. For the 15th time in school history, just two seasons removed from the last time they raised the banner, the Cats are champions again. A similar feeling. Even if this one is different.
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