Tommy Lloyd wasn’t exactly solemn in the postgame press conference after his 2-seed Arizona Wildcats were ousted from the NCAA Tournament on Day 1. Disappointed, sure, but not downtrodden. Instead, Lloyd had more of a future-focused outlook, talking about the trajectory of the program as Year 2 closes out.

While it’s true that Lloyd’s 61 wins in his first two seasons as the Wildcat coach are more than any other Division I coach has had in their first two seasons at any other school and any other point in college basketball history, it’s also true that Arizona has been knocked out of The Big Dance earlier than expected in back-to-back years.

The loss to Houston in the Sweet 16 a year ago was about toughness. The loss to Princeton on Thursday was… well, once again about toughness. The bigger, faster, stronger Arizona team was lifeless for long stretches against a group of basketball players who can’t even get athletic scholarships from their school.

A disappointing loss for the program. Some elsewhere throughout the Pac-12 might call it embarrassing.

“If you want to do great things in life, you’ve got to be willing to step in some dog shit once in a while,” Lloyd said after the game. “That’s just how it is. And we did today. A lot of it was self-inflicted, but a lot of it was from a great opponent who has a lot of pride.”

Lloyd was asked about his mindset after the game. He said he knows how hard it is to win in the tournament, he respects it.

He sat on Mark Few’s bench as a Gonzaga assistant for 20 years. In his first seven seasons with the program, the Zags failed to make it past the second round six times. They made it to the title game twice, though they never got over that last hurdle.

“This coaching thing is hard because you’re literally judged on wins and losses in a moment’s notice. I don’t think that’s a healthy way to live your life if you are a coach. I mean, I know it’s gut-wrenching. I’ll probably go through a sway of emotions in the next few days,” Lloyd said. “I love what I do, and I couldn’t imagine having a real job. I’m thankful for the job. I’m thankful for the opportunity our president, who is sitting here, gave me. I owe it to the game of basketball. I owe it to these players. I owe it to my family to keep my head up, stay classy. I think that’s the only way to operate.

“I promise you I’ll get better from this. I have lots of room to grow as a coach. I’m hard on myself every day. You know, I can’t wait to roll up my sleeves and start the process of getting better.”