Sean Miller has returned to the Final Four of the charity free throw contest known as “Shots from the Heart.”
This time, Miller edged Andy Kennedy of Mississippi 53-52. Both made 24 of 25 free throws but Miller’s miss was worth only three points while Kennedy’s was worth four.
In the contest, which benefits the American Heart Association and Skip Prosser Foundation, shots 1-10 are worth one point each, shots 11-15 are worth 2 points each, shots 16-20 are worth three points, shots 21-24 are worth four points and shot 25 is worth five points.
Miller will face either Illinois' Bruce Weber or Travis Ford of Oklahoma State in the semifinals. The other half of the “final four” bracket features Ray McCallum of Detroit against Buzz Peterson of UNC-Wilmington.
“I take this seriously and try to win it,” Miller said today, on the Pac-12 teleconference call. “It’s the one thing in life that I have lot of confidence in -- my ability to shoot free throws -- and that doesn’t get you much unless you’re in a contest.
"Since I’m in a contest, I might as well see how far I can go. I missed one and when I shoot this month I hope I don’t miss any because if I do I’ll probably be knocked out.”
Miller reached the finals of last season’s inaugural competition, losing to the nearly flawless Fred Hoiberg of Iowa State, who missed only 1 of 253 free throws over the event.
The Wildcats are taking today off, after taking Sunday off and practicing Tuesday.
Considering that the Wildcats have played two games a week since the New Year’s – and have been going with a seven-man rotation in recent weeks – rest may be as important as preparation.
“This week is about us getting healthy, fresh and focused,” Miller said. “This week comes at a real good time for us. Hopefully we can be real refreshed for the game on Sunday and I’m sure Arizona State is trying to accomplish the same thing.”
While ASU coach Herb Sendek was not available on the Pac-12 teleconference call, assistant coach Scott Pera said the Sun Devils are trying to find a balance between rest and learning this week.
“Obviously, in our situation with no seniors, we need to continue teaching, and really getting our guys to learn,” Pera said. “But also you want to make sure your guys are fresh, excited, anxious and ready to play.”
Sporting News has Arizona out of its current NCAA tournament projection.
The Salt Lake Tribune says the Utes have overachieved despite adversity.