Each of the last two years, Arizona had one coach on media day and another on opening day.
This year, the Wildcats expect it to be the same man _ Sean Miller.
"It sounds crazy, but it'll be the first time that's happened, and it's actually a fulfilling feeling, you know what I mean?" junior forward Jamelle Horne said during media day at McKale Center on Wednesday.
Two years ago, legendary coach Lute Olson took a personal leave of absence before the season tipped off, turning the team over to interim coach Kevin O'Neill. Back on the job last fall, Olson told a media day audience that he was "much more energized."
Two days later Olson resigned, and interim coach Russ Pennell replaced the Hall of Famer.
Arizona flirted with former USC coach Tim Floyd last spring, then lured the 40-year-old Miller from Xavier with a five-year contract that pays him a base salary of $2 million per year plus a $1 million signing bonus.
Miller has used the last six months to restore stability _ at least on the sideline. The roster is another question.
Miller won't name a starting lineup for the Nov. 15 opener against Northern Arizona, and even if he did, it's likely to change as a young team comes together.
The Wildcats' only upperclassmen are senior point guard Nic Wise and Horne. The players on this year's squad accounted for only 32.9 of Arizona's 72.3 points per game last year.
Sophomore guard Kyle Fogg is the Wildcats' third-leading returning scorer. He averaged 6.1 points per game last season.
There's still a Hill on the roster _ but it's not star center Jordan Hill, selected eighth in the NBA draft last spring. Solomon Hill, who is not related to Jordan, is a touted 6-foot-6 freshman out of Fairfax High School in Los Angeles.
Other newcomers who could make an immediate impact include 6-foot-10 center Kyryl Natyazhko of the Ukraine; 5-foot-11 point guard Lamont "MoMo" Jones of Harlem, N.Y.; and 6-foot-6 swingman Kevin Parrom of Bronx, N.Y.
They're all part of a recruiting class that fired up Arizona's fans but also raised hopes that the Wildcats will contend in the wide-open Pac-10.
As he addressed reporters on Wednesday, Miller tried to rein in the expectations sweeping this basketball-crazed city.
"Because things have happened here in the past, doesn't necessarily mean they're going to continue," Miller said.
Miller was asked if he was referring to Arizona's string of 25 straight NCAA tournament appearances, the nation's longest active streak and two shy of North Carolina's record run of 27 straight appearances from 1975 to 2001.
"I think the streak is something that can really be damaging to this year's team," Miller said. "In reality, it's something that we can't control. What happened a year ago or two years ago, 13 years ago, it's all things that we're proud of. It's our tradition. It's our legacy. It's why you want to be at a program like Arizona. But what that means in this season, 2009-10, is nothing."
Solomon Hill acknowledged that the streak is "over everybody's shoulders," but he said the players aren't bothered by it.
"We can't really worry about team goals," Solomon Hill said. "We're not even a team yet."
They'll have to become one quickly, because Arizona didn't dumb down its schedule to help an inexperienced team.
The Wildcats play in the Maui Invitational, where they'll face Wisconsin in the opener and then might meet Gonzaga in the second round. They also go to Oklahoma and face North Carolina State and Brigham Young at McKale Center.
Miller is confident that his team will be better in February than in November. But he grimaced when asked if he was anxious to see the Wildcats in action.
"I'm not anxious at all to see a game," Miller said. "Matter of fact, I don't want to see a game for some time."