|X factor: Musketeers coach ready for alma mater|
|Written by Admin|
|Sunday, 22 March 2009 14:15|
Miller guided the Musketeers to a 60-49 over Wisconsin on Sunday, earning them a shot at top-seeded Pittsburgh in the East Regional semifinals.
A Pittsburgh native, Miller was a point guard for the Panthers and graduated from his hometown school in 1992. He then served a year as an assistant coach before ultimately taking a job as assistant at Xavier in 2001.
Miller played down Thursday night's matchup in Boston against the Panthers, saying there were too many more important factors at stake.
``This is really about our team and our players,'' Miller said after the fourth-seeded Musketeers beat the Badgers. ``And regardless of who we play, we know every level you jump it becomes increasingly difficult.''
At Pitt, Miller was picked as the Big East Freshman of the Year in 1988 while helping lead the Panthers to a 24-7 record. He is also the school's 16th leading all-time scorer, with 1,282 points.
a terrific program, more so than when I went to school there,'' Miller joked.
ATTENDANCE WOES: Attendance improved - a tiny bit - in Miami.
Sunday's two games drew 10,204 fans, a bit over Friday's two-session average, although the building still seemed considerably empty for the Arizona-Cleveland State matchup.
AmericanAirlines Arena can hold 19,600 for Miami Heat games. Even with curtains drawn over large parts of the upper deck, most seats in the second rung of the building were empty all day Sunday, especially so after Syracuse - which seemed to have the largest contingent - cleared out following its win over Arizona State in the first game.
GROUNDED FLYER: After scoring a career-high 27 points to go with 10 rebounds and a handful of highlight-reel tomahawk dunks in the first round against West Virginia, Dayton's Chris Wright was held to 10 points on 4-for-16 shooting Sunday in the 60-43 loss to Kansas.
Wright had one energy-fueling fast-break slam, but that was his only starry sequence. Every time the sophomore with the 40-inch vertical leap looked for liftoff, Jayhawks center Cole Aldrich and his teammates were there to keep him from finding air space. At least three of Aldrich's 10 blocks, one short of Shaquille O'Neal's tournament record, were on shot attempts by Wright.
tle bit. Cole was blocking a lot of his shots, and you could tell he was getting a little frustrated out there.''
Dayton shot an abysmal 22 percent from the field; Charles Little was 2-for-10 and Marcus Johnson 1-for-11.
Wright's lone field goal of the second half was his second dunk of the game. The Flyers were down by 14 with 6:42 to play when he rose up and put down a rather mild slam - a stark contrast to all the hammers he dropped against the Mountaineers Friday.
``We just couldn't capitalize,'' Wright said. ``And, you know, they took advantage of some of our turnovers or shots that we took. They was able to finish down low, and the shots we took, they just didn't fall.''
Wright, assuming he returns, has two more seasons of eligibility to help the Flyers continue to rise. His teammate Little, though, is done.
``It was disappointing because we lost, but most disappointing because I will not be out there with those guys in spring and summer,'' Little said.
STREET TOUGH: Cole Aldrich's triple-double was the story for Kansas, but point guard Sherron Collins had yet another unflappable performance with 25 points on 11-for-19 shooting, seven rebounds and two assists.
for or all the way to the basket for two points.
``That's just me,'' Collins said. ``I think I just grew up that way, just being from Chicago and playing against bigger guys all the time. You know, they knock you down and you have to get up or you can't play with them. This is my mind state, and I ain't gonna let nobody punk me or my teammates.''
DONE BEFORE LUNCH: Arizona State's game with Syracuse tipped off shortly past noon Sunday.
In other words, shortly past 9 a.m. in Tempe, Ariz.
So maybe it wasn't a coincidence that the Sun Devils went nearly 6 1/2 minutes without a field goal during the first half and struggled often in their 78-67 loss to the Orange in the South Regional second round.
After all, had this been a lazy Sunday at home, some of the players might not have even been out of bed yet.
``We've been out here for several days,'' said Sun Devils coach Herb Sendek, insisting the hour didn't matter. ``We're fairly acclimated to the time change.''
Maybe so, but there were a few players who yawned when they first hit the floor for warm-ups.
``It was really early,'' Arizona State's James Harden said.