March 3, 2011
TUCSON, Ariz. - Now it's the Final Four and a whole lot more for Sean Miller.
The University of Arizona head men's basketball coach won his fourth-round match, 31-30, to advance in the "Shots From the Heart" free throw contest.
Miller made all 25 free throws earlier week, scoring a total of 31 points to defeat Mark Phelps of Drake, who made 24 of 25 and scored 30 points.
"I'm really happy to advance," said Miller. I knew this was going to be a challenging round and I'm still going by the slogan `Don't Miss.' If you want to survive you just can't miss a shot at this point of the tournament."
Through four rounds of action, Miller has made 92-of-100 shots (.920) and has tallied 116 of a possible 124 total points. His score improved in each of the first three rounds, and Miller has recorded perfect scores in each of the last two rounds.
Miller is scheduled to face Buzz Peterson (UNC-Wilmington) in the semifinals. The other semifinal features Fred Hoiberg (Iowa State) vs. Will Brown (Albany). The fifth round of the event was originally slated to begin in March, though there now is a possibility that each of the remaining coaches in this Final Four may shoot it out at the NCAA Final Four festivities in Houston, March 31-April 4.
"Shots from the Heart" is a season-long free throw contest that features 64 participating head coaches bracketed in a tournament-style format. Beginning in November and continuing once monthly through the NCAA Final Four in Houston, coaches will shoot 25 free throws - with varying point values - on their campuses while a departmental staff member will tally and report the results. The coach with the most points scored in each match-up will advance to the next round.
In an effort to avoid ties, the following scoring system will be used: shots 1-20 are worth 1 point each, shots 21-24 are worth two points each, and shot 25 is worth 3 points.
The event is administered by collegeinsider.com in conjunction with Close The Gap, an educational initiative designed to promote awareness about cardiovascular risk factors. Any proceeds from the event will benefit the American Heart Association. For additional tournament information, go to www.collegeinsider.com/shots. There is a tournament for assistant coaches as well.
Miller, who graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 1992, finished his career as one of the top 10 free throw shooters in NCAA history. He connected on 317-of-358 (.885) free throw attempts for his career, and he still holds the Pitt record for career free throw percentage. Additionally, Miller is the only player in Pitt history to shoot better than 90 percent from the line in a single season, and he accomplished that feat twice.