Arizona knows it ‘better get a lot better’ — and fast

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Sean Miller isn’t mincing words about No. 16 Arizona’s opener against Valparaiso. Not after two lackluster exhibition games.

“We just got better by leaps and bounds (last season) and I hope we can do it again. It’s not about panicking as much as being very realistic that here’s our starting point and here are the things we need to do get better,” he told the Arizona Republic. “We better get a lot better or Valparaiso is going to come in (Monday) and beat us.”

For those who (understandably) ignore exhibition games, here’s what happened thus far: the Wildcats lost to D-II Seattle Pacific and earned a sloppy nine-point win over D-II Humboldt State. That hardly seems like a team that won 30 games, won the Pac-10 and reached the Elite Eight last season. (The defense is a wreck.)

But hey, they don’t have Derrick Williams or point guard Momo Jones. Athletic wing Kevin Parrom is still recovering from a gunshot wound to the leg suffered in September and the promising freshmen are experiencing some “growing pains.”

Miller sees it as a good thing. How long that lasts is another question. For now, he’s only worried about Valpo. More challenging foes such as Florida and Gonzaga don’t come around until December.

“Obviously we have a low starting point, and a long way to go,” Miller said. “But we know a lot more about our team now than we did two weeks ago.”

Give it four more weeks and maybe he’ll know enough to give the Gators a game.

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