We’re counting down the end of the Pac-12 season with a daily look at each of the postseason awards. Today: Coach of the Year
COACH OF THE YEAR
Sean Miller, Arizona: Receiving 10 of a possible 12 first-place in a preseason media poll, the Wildcats were the runaway favorites to win the Pac-12 regular-season title. They had a bullseye on their backs while carrying the conference on their shoulders the past five months. They held the No. 1 ranking in the Associated Press for seven weeks and started the season 21-0.
After starting sophomore forward Brandon Ashlely suffered a season-ending foot injury, Arizona lost 60-58 on a last-second buzzer-beater at California. The Wildcats struggled in the next four games while getting adjusted to life without Ashley. They lost 69-66 at cross-state rival Arizona State and needed overtime to beat Utah 67-63.
However, in the past four games Arizona has seemingly returned to its dominating form. The Wildcats have pummeled opponents by an average of 18.3 points.
Arizona is 28-2 and 15-2 in the Pac-12.
Miller has been able to imprint his defense-first personality on a talented roster that includes four McDonald’s all-Americans. Arizona allows 58.5 points per game, which ranks sixth nationally. Opponents shoot 38.5 percent, which ranks ninth nationally.
Others coaches deserving of consideration:
— Larry Krystkowiak has led Utah to its first 20-win season since 2009.
— After a four-year NCAA tournament absence, Herb Sendek has guided the Sun Devils (21-9, 10-7) to an apparent berth in the Big Dance.
— Colorado lost star point guard Spencer Dinwiddie, but coach Tad Boyle has steered Colorado to more wins (21) than any other Buffaloes team in the regular season.