Shots From the Heart: Alford Shoots His Way Into Sweet 16
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  01/03/2011
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Jan. 3, 2011

Courtesy Angela Lento of CollegeInsider.com

BOSTON (MA) -- The inaugural Shots from the Heart tournament has reached the round of 16. Both head coaches and assistant coaches will compete in January.

New Mexico's Steve Alford, one of the pre-tournament favorites, rolls into January having not missed a shot. Alford was a perfect 50-for-50 in advancing past Pat Knight (Texas Tech) and Kermit Davis (Middle Tennessee).

"I felt like the 16th seed going against Steve Alford, said Davis who was 24-for-25 in the first round. "Steve is one of the very best free-throw shooters in college basketball history so I knew it was going to be tough, but I was real happy to be a part of this event. What a terrific opportunity to create awareness for heart disease and honor one of the finest men to ever coach our game, Skip Prosser."

Next up for Alford in the North Region is Tulane head coach Ed Conroy, who got past his good friend Mike Brey (Notre Dame) to advance to the Sweet 16.

"This has really been a lot of fun," said Conroy. "What a great way to raise awareness for heart disease. Skip would have loved the competition and I am sure he would have encouraged the victors celebrate with a cold one. This is a terrific event."

As for his matchup against Alford, "Shooting free throws is to Steve what breathing in the air is to the rest of us."

Fred Hoiberg (Iowa State) will take on Tubby Smith (Minnesota) in the other North Region matchup. Neither coach missed a shot in round 2.

In the South Region, Kerry Keating (Santa Clara) did the unthinkable, beating not one but two Greenbergs. In the first round Keating defeated Seth Greenberg (Virginia Tech) and in the second round Keating defeated Brad Greenberg (Radford).

"It was a fluke," said Seth Greenberg. "Keating was fortunate to advance this far, but I think his run ends here."

Greenberg was very tongue-and-cheek, but Keating was all business (sort of) when looking to the next round.

"It won't be easy going against Jason Hooten," said Keating. "Coach Hooten has shot it well thus far and I would expect that to continue, as long as he doesn't seek technique advice from Seth. In all seriousness, I am very proud to be a part of something that pays tribute to Skip Prosser. Shots from the Heart is a tremendous event."

Buzz Peterson (UNC-Wilmington), who went 25-for-25 in the second round, will square off against Gary Stewart (UC Davis) in the other matchup.

In the East Region, Jamie Dixon (Pittsburgh) also posted a perfect score in the second round. His third round opponent is the surprise of the tournament. Ted Woodward (Maine) hasn't shot lights out, but he has shot well enough to advance through the first two rounds.

Will Brown (Albany) and Chris Mack (Xavier) meet in the other East Region matchup.

In the West, one of the pre-tournament favorites is still trying to find a rhythm. Sean Miller (Arizona) believes he is fortunate to have advance this far. "I can shoot it much better," he said. "I am a little disappointed in my performance thus far."

Miller made 20-of-25 in the first round and was 22-for-25 in the second round. His opponent Ron Everhart (Duquesne) has shot much better. Everhart missed only two shots in the first round and he was 24-for-25 in his second round win over Bill Self (Kansas).

The other clash in the West Region is between Milan Brown (Holy Cross) and Mark Phelps (Drake).

"It's the Sweet 16," said Brown. "When you get to this point, everybody can shoot."

On the assistant side, Craig Neal faces off with George Mason's Eric Konkol in the East Region, with a potential Elite Eight matchup with former Lobo coach Ritchie McKay lurking.

All results for the Sweet 16 must be recorded by January 31.