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Hoopfest '08 on Saturday

Call it Morning Madness, not Midnight Madness.

Jack_mcclintonThe University of Miami men's and women's basketball teams will kickoff the start of practice together Saturday at BankUnited Center with a 30-minute open session for fans between 10 a.m. and noon. Hurricanes Hoopfest '08 will feature an autograph session in which fans will be able to meet players and have the opportunity to select their seats for both the women’s and men’s basketball seasons.

Head coaches Katie Meier and Frank Haith will address the crowd and every fan in attendance will receive an exclusive Hoopfest poster and will have the first look at BankUnited Center’s new court design.

The men return four starters including All-ACC First Team selection Jack McClinton from a team which went 23-11 and reached the second round of the NCAA tournament last year. Saturday will be the first opportunity for fans to see highly-touted newcomers DeQuan Jones and Reggie Johnson. The team's first exhibition game will be Nov. 1 against Florida Memorial.

The women’s basketball team brings in a top-25 recruiting class this season, which includes a total of five newcomers. Captain LaToya Cunningham, who is the top returning scorer from a year ago, will lead UM against an impressive ACC schedule that features eight teams that played in the postseason and six that advanced to the NCAA tournament.

> I'll be there tomorrow to cover the event -- and not in Durham with the football team. I'll also be in Atlanta next week for the men's ACC basketball meetings. So, no gameday blog from me this week or next week. I'll watch the games on TV and provide you with my thoughts afterward.

> As for the preseason hype surrounding the men's team, it looks more and more like they will begin the season ranked in the Top 25. Here's a look at some preseason rankings from the experts: Dick Vitale's Top 40 (UM is 21st), Andy Katz (UM is 12th) and the Sporting News (UM is 14th).