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Road work gets Pac-12 leader Arizona ready for NCAA tournament

Nick Johnson
Arizona’s Nick Johnson puts up a shot during a win over Oregon State on Sunday. The Wildcats are looking to go undefeated the rest of the way in Pac-12 conference play.
(Ralph Freso / Getty Images)

Arizona headed out into the second half of Pac-12 play two games ahead of its closest pursuer -- UCLA.

It has stayed that way.

The second-ranked Wildcats battled through a game against Oregon last week, coming away with a 67-65 victory. The road gets a little tougher, as Arizona plays five of its last seven games on the road.

“We have this 18-game gauntlet,” Miller said of conference play. “We have gotten opponents’ best environment on the road, certainly we got a lot of other team’s best shots. We understand that’s what happens when you have a high RPI ranking.”

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The Wildcats have lost once, when California pulled off an upset in Berkeley. “That helps their own cause, not only in conference, but at tournament time,” Miller said.

It will also help the Wildcats come tournament time.

Arizona (24-1 overall, 10-1 in Pac-12 play) won at No. 15 Michigan and at No. 5 San Diego State during nonconference play. It’s the Aztecs’ only loss this season.

“From a team perspective, we are accustomed to rowdy crowds,” Miller said. “We know what it takes to win in those situations. You can look back as far as San Diego State. We won that one near the end. We did that at Michigan. We have done that a couple times in conference.”

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