The best cocktail in Las Vegas? One part Pac-12 Tournament, one part Sean Miller. Shaken, and definitely stirred.
Just before midnight Friday, MST, the Arizona coach called a timeout with nine-tenths of a second left and his team leading UCLA 86-75.
This was a head-scratching decision to many, who didn’t realize Miller was making a statement about an incident 12 days earlier.
With two seconds to go in the Bruins’ 77-72 victory in Tucson on Feb. 26, UCLA coach Steve Alford called a timeout. Miller clearly considered it showboating. So he decided to make a point, too.
Not that he said any of this. The coach has the best p-p-p-oker face in the game.
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From the press conference afterward: “I think we learned from UCLA in that game, just making sure your team is poised moving forward. When they called their timeout late, we wanted to do the same thing, make sure our team is poised moving forward.”
Alford told reporters after Friday’s loss that in the previous game: “I didn’t mean disrespect at all. It put us up five. I just wanted to set my defense because we hadn’t won there and I didn’t want anything goofy to happen. Apparently he thought I was being disrespectful. That was a way, I guess, of coming back at us. I meant by no means disrespect and that’s what I told him after the game.”
BOX SCORE: Arizona 86, UCLA 75
Hmm. Five points in two seconds? That’s a huge stretch, although it’s mathematically possible and in the manic mind of a college coach during a high stakes game, I could see the scenario prompting the calling of a timeout.
Just the other night, the Suns scored five points in the final four seconds to secure a victory over the Boston Celtics.
But two seconds?
Highly unlikely but it’s possible. Shot made. Opposing team panics on the inbound past. Five-second violation (clock not running). Change of possession. Second shot (3-pointer) made.
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Just the whisper of a possibility make this wildly entertaining, especially with Miller involved. He was the highlight of the 2013 Pac-12 Tournament with his “He touched the ball” regarding a blown call in a game against, you guessed it, UCLA.
If Miller was grandstanding Friday, too, so be it. In the realm of all the good things Miller does for that Arizona program, file this one under firing your team up.
On the surface, maybe not his best move. But the pumped-up looks on his players at the end of the game suggests he is building momentum as the team heads to the NCAA Tournament.
In the big picture, that’s more important.
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Suns vice chairman and part owner Jahm Najafi is part of a group bidding for Time Inc., according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.
Among Time’s products is Sports Illustrated. That would surely raise questions about a perceived conflict of interests, including thought that the magazine would have better access to the team.
This is not a new phenomenon. The Boston Globe is owned by John Henry, a co-owner of the Red Sox, and Glen Taylor owns the Minneapolis Star-Tribune and Timberwolves.
Sad to hear of the recent passing of Gil Trejo, a former baseball coach at Maryvale High who won two state titles there and is a member of the inaugural Phoenix Union High School District Hall of Fame class. The field at Maryvale was named after him in 2000.
Trejo lettered in basketball and baseball at Arizona State in the late 1940s before playing three seasons in the Yankees organization.
It has been a tough few months on the local high school scene. Popular football coach Chuck Esquivel, of Glendale Ironwood, recently passed away of pancreatic cancer.
This and that …
I’m looking forward to seeing what an NCAA Tournament-eligible Grand Canyon men’s basketball team can do next season. The Antelopes finished the season 22-9, have created a fantastic environment at GCU Arena and have benefited from the coaching chops of Dan Majerle.
I am surprised the Antelopes turned down an opportunity to play in a postseason tournament, even if they wanted players to be healthier for next season.
-One interesting change to the NCAA Tournament selection process this year: Committee members who leave the room because of discussions about their school will be told the specifics of what others debated and how they reached their conclusions when they return.
“It’s the right thing to have individuals out of the room, no matter if it’s the bubble or the 1-line,” Mark Hollis, NCAA chair of Division I basketball, said. “The reason for that is it allows very frank conversations to take place about those teams. When you re-enter, you’re back, re-engaged with the conversation with the rest of the field.”
Among those who will be impacted include former ASU athletic director Kevin White, who has the same position at Duke, and also has a son who is the head coach at Florida. Hollis will also step away when discussions surround Michigan State, where he heads the athletic department.
Reach Paola Boivin at [email protected] and on Twitter at Twitter.com/PaolaBoivin. Listen to her streaming live on “The Brad Cesmat Show” on sports360az.com every Monday at 10:30 a.m.