Sean Miller and Mark Few are two of the best coaches in college basketball, but depending on who you ask, they’re also the two best coaches in college basketball to never reach a Final Four.
Is that a compliment or an insult?
“I think it’s a back-handed compliment,” CBS Sports Network college basketball analyst Pete Gillen said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “It shows (that), hey, they’re a great coach, which they both are, but it also says, ‘Hey, you haven’t reached the pinnacle yet. You haven’t gotten to the Final Four.’ So it’s a hug, and it’s also a kick in the shins. It’s a little bit of both.”
Miller has been to four Elite Eights – one with Xavier and three with Arizona – while Few reached his first Elite Eight in 2015. Both have been to seven Sweet 16s, including one this season.
Interestingly, both programs could be on collision course in the West region. No. 1 Gonzaga (34-1) and No. 2 Arizona (32-4) are one win away from squaring off in the Elite Eight.
“It would be a great game,” Gillen said of the potential matchup. “It’s a coin toss either way. Both teams are playing lights-out, but I think (I would) go with Arizona.”
Gonzaga beat Arizona, 69-62, on Dec. 3, albeit with a slight asterisk.
“Allonzo Trier, as you know, didn’t play the last time they played,” Gillen said. “Gonzaga won. I think this time Allonzo plays. He’s a tremendous player, a great athlete. (Lauri) Markkanen is a tough matchup inside or outside. So I think it’s a coin toss, but I’m going to go with the Wildcats.”
But first things first. Both must survive the Sweet 16. Gonzaga plays No. 4 West Virginia (28-8) Thursday at 7:39 p.m. ET, with Arizona squaring off against No. 11 Xavier (23-13) at 10:09 p.m. ET.