April 22, 2011

Larranaga brings Final Four experience to UM

It's not often you get the chance to hire a coach who has been to the Final Four and did it recently. But that's exactly what the University of Miami and new athletic director Shawn Eichorst pulled off in getting George Mason's Jim Larranaga to come to Coral Gables.

Jim Larranaga Larranaga, 61, flew to South Florida Friday morning to meet with UM officials and is expected to have a press conference later this afternoon. Larranaga, who spent the past 14 seasons at George Mason, left in part for more money.

George Mason athletic director Tom O'Connor said as much when he spoke to the AP this morning. "In all honesty, the university can only go so far with finances," O'Connor said. "We think we put together a very, very attractive financial compensation package. We couldn't compete with an ACC school, a big football school with its budget."

You don't hear those words very often when it comes to Miami. But it's nice to see UM was willing to put up big cash for a quality coach -- even if his name wasn't Frank Martin.

Larranaga is no pushover. He led the Patriots to five NCAA tournament appearances in 14 seasons, including a suprising run to the Final Four in 2006.

Last season, he led George Mason to the CAA regular-season title and an at-large berth in the Big Dance. After beating Villanova, the Patriots lost to overall No. 1 seed Ohio State.

Before coaching at George Mason, Larranaga spent 11 seasons as the coach at Bowling Green.

At 61, he may not be at UM for a very, very long time. But he can lay a solid foundation and give this UM basketball team an identity moving forward -- the man loves pressure defense. In the end, this hire is going to turn out to be a lot better than what else UM could have ended up with. Tommy Amaker? Rob Jeter? None of those guys have Larranaga's resume.

What are your thoughts on the hiring?


ESPN's Dick Vitale on Twitter: "Miami hit a grand slam in getting Jim Larranaga from George Mason- He is a fierce competitor & has loads of contacts. Great hire!"

CBS and Sports Illustrated's Seth Davis: "Larranaga to Miami is a win win. He gets a better job for more money. UM gets a great coach. Let's not overthink this. Jim is nearing end of his career. Why not take a shot? What does he have to lose? He'll need top assts to get players but he can win there."

April 21, 2011

Report: UM targeting George Mason's Larranaga

New UM athletic director Shawn Eichorst said Tuesday he was just beginning his search for a new men's basketball coach. But according to CBSSports.com Senior Writer Gary Parrish, that search may not take very long.

Citing multiple sources, Parrish reported George Mason's Jim Larranaga has had serious discussions with UM officials about its coaching vacancy and said the 61-year old has become UM's top coaching target. He also added he's not sure whether Larranaga is seriously interested or simply leveraging for more money from George Mason, which he took to the Final Four in 2006.

According to USA Today, Larranaga made a little more than $700,000 last season and signed a contract extension last year that would keep him at George Mason through 2015-2016.

We know UM has already contacted University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee coach Rob Jeter about the job as well. Jeter, 41, has been at Wisconsin-Milwaukee for five years and has a 101-89 record. His team went 19-14 this season and won the Horizon League regular season title.

March 14, 2011

UM women enter NCAA Tourney as No. 3 seed

FORT MYERS -- The University of Miami women’s basketball team didn't have to sweat out Selection Monday. The Canes knew they were headed to the NCAA Tournament -- they just didn't know where or who they would be playing.

Well, now they know. 

Miami (27-4) earned the No. 3 seed in the Dayton Region and will travel to Charlottesville, Va. where it will face No. 14-seed Gardner-Webb (23-10) in the opening round Sunday.

The winner of that game will face the winner of the match-up between No. 6-seed Oklahoma (21-11) and No. 11-seed James Madison (26-7). The top seed in the region is Tennessee (31-2). Notre Dame (26-7) is the No. 2 seed.

The No. 3 seed is the second-lowest in program history for UM behind the No. 2 seed earned by the 1991-92 Hurricanes, who won the Big East title and reached the Sweet 16.

The NCAA appearance is the seventh in school history. Miami is 2-6 all-time in NCAA play, with the last win coming on March 17, 1993 against St. Peters.

> NCAA Tournament women's bracket

March 03, 2011

Canes sweep: Katie Meier, Shenise Johnson take home ACC Coach, Player of the Year Awards

CORAL GABLES -- The University of Miami women's basketball team enjoyed a glorious turnaround from worst to first in the ACC this season. And that turnaround just got a little sweeter.

Shenise Johnson As many expected, UM junior guard Shenise Johnson and Canes coach Katie Meier were named the ACC's Women's Basketball Player and Coach of the Year Thursday morning.

Johnson, a two-time All-ACC First Team selection, was the only player in the ACC to rank in the Top 10 in scoring (second, 19.6 ppg), rebounding (eighth, 7.8 rpg) and assists (ninth, 3.7 apg). Johnson, who had a league-high three 30-point performances and 11 20-point showings while being named the ACC Player of the Week on three occasions this season, was also named to the 2010-11 All-Defensive team. She is one of UM players to average more than three steals per game and owns an impressive 86 percent free throw accuracy. In addition, Johnson has found time to lead her team in blocks, registering 26 in 29 games played.

After leading her team an appearance to last year's NIT championship game, Meier guided the Canes to a 26-3 overall record and a 12-2 ACC mark, tying with Duke as regular season champions. The regular season title is the first for the Miami program and the No. 2 seed in the 2011 ACC Women's Basketball Tournament is the team's highest seed in school history since joining the league in 2004-05. Meier, who is in her sixth season at UM, is just two victories away from earning her 100th win at UM and would become just the third coach in program history to reach the milestone.

Katie Meier "Obviously I'm thrilled with the progress that we made this year," Meier said Tuesday. "The regular season was so much fun. I just love the ACC coaches and the games and the arenas and the crowds. It' been kind of a magical little run for us."

UM opens the ACC Tournament on Friday at 6 p.m. against the winner Thursday's first round game between Boston College and N.C. State. 

"I really want to see us play free, confidently, passionately like we've been playing all year," Meier said. "It's been a unique chemistry, a unique energy about the team. That's a very hard thing to bottle up. It's a hard thing to make sure you know is there. That's where I'll be challenging them. I'll be pretty energetic and passionate in practice this week before we get up there making sure that it's consistent, it's there."

March 01, 2011

Haith says poor decision making from his point guards has hurt Canes in crunch time

Frank Haith's basketball team will wrap up it's home schedule Wednesday night when it hosts Maryland (18-11, 7-7) at the BankUnited Center at 7 p.m.

Frank Haith Haith is holding out hope the Canes (17-12, 5-9 ACC) will at the very least earn a trip to the NIT Tournament with a strong finish this week and potentially a win or two in next week's ACC Tournament in Greensboro, N.C. 

What would a post season trip anywhere mean for the Canes after finishing 20-13 and staying home last season? For the future success of Haith's program one could argue that it's vital.

"I think this team needs to play games," Haith said Tuesday. "Outside of Adrian [Thomas] everybody is back [next year]. Whether it's the NCAA Tournament or NIT, we'd be very happy to compete in the postseason. It's important for this team to get into the postseason."

All Haith needs to do is look right down the hallway at UM to see how much a trip to the postseason can help a team the following season. Katie Meier's team reached the NIT finals last season and is now ranked in the Top 10 nationally.

If anything, the Canes might finally learn how to win tight games more consistently. UM has a record of 6-8 this season in games decided by six points or less. Asked how his team could win more games late Haith said it starts with better decision making from his point guards.

"One thing really need to get better at is our decision making and ball handling," Haith said. "Our guard play has to be really good. [But] the teams that are really good in those last four minutes, you have to make good decisions. You got to get to the free throw line, you got to make free throws and a lot of it is guard play. We have good guards. Durand [Scott], Malcolm [Grant], those guys are good. We just need them to be better in late game situations."

When Scott and Grant first joined forces at UM last season they were expected to be improvements at the point guard position. But both combo guards have struggled when it comes to distributing the ball. UM's assist to turnover ratio a year ago was 464 to 448 or -0.5, eighth best in the ACC and 210th nationally. This season, UM's assist to turnover ratio ranks 10th in the ACC (336 assists to 400 turnovers). The Canes are 11th out of 12 teams in turnovers per game. 

Grant, who finished sixth in the ACC a year ago with a 1.8 assist to turnover ratio (117 assists to 66 turnovers), has slipped to 1.3 (94 to 70). Scott has gone from having a 1.5 (113 to 73) turnover-to-assist ratio in 2010 to 1.1 (93 to 83) this season.

"You improve by experiences, what you've done in the past games so you know what to do and what not to do," Haith said. "I think we've had some improvement there. I've pointed out to you before the comparison of what happened at N.C. State and Wake Forest, same type of scenario. Obviously Wake Forest was a positive play. We executed better."

Still, Haith admits there have been conversations between he and his staff that the program might be better off finding natural point guards instead of combo guards going forward. That's something he hasn't done very often in his first seven years in Coral Gables.

"There's no question it's something we've talked about," Haith said of scrapping the combo-guard concept. "I think Durand is going to be able to do it in terms of what we need him to do. It's just a matter of him... It's a learning process. He's doing something he's never done before."

It should be noted that the Canes don't have any natural point guards waiting in the wings for next season. The only high school recruit UM signed, North Carolina native Bishop Daniels, is known for his dunks not for his passes. Trey McKinney-Jones, a transfer, is a 6-5 shooting guard.


> Former Canes cornerback Demarcus Van Dyke opened some eyes at Tuesday's NFL combine in Indianapolis when he posted a 4.28 time in the 40-yard dash, faster than any other competitor in the field. Van Dyke (6-1, 176) ran the third-fastest 40 at the combine since 2000 behind Titans running back Chris Johnson who turned in a 4.24 in 2008 and Raiders cornerback Stanford Routt`s 4.27 in 2005.

> According to UM, baseball coach Jim Morris remains hospitalized after having his gall bladder removed on Feb. 25. Morris was recovering from surgery before an infection required him to check back into the hospital. According to UM, doctors have stopped the spread of the infection. No word yet on when he'll be back on the field. Pitching coach JD Arteaga has served as interim manager during Morris absence.

"I'm progressing and getting better day by day," Morris said in a statement released by the school Tuesday morning. "I'm anxious to get released from the hospital and rejoin the team as soon as possible."

Originally, he was expected to rejoin the team for the Hurricanes' trip to No. 1 Florida for a three-game series beginning Friday. But UM spokesman Bryan Harvey said in a Tweet that's unlikely now.

February 07, 2011

Brissett signs with UF; Canes focus on other QBs

The Miami Hurricanes' chase of Palm Beach Dwyer quarterback Jacoby Brissett is officially over.

Tate Forcier Three days after announcing at a basketball he wanted to play for the Gators, the U.S. Army All-American quarterback faxed his signed National Letter of Intent to Gainesville on Monday despite the efforts of his mother to sway him back toward the Canes.

Brissett (6-5, 225) was the top remaining unsigned quarterback in the country and said on Friday that he narrowed his choices down to UM and UF. But he chose to follow his heart -- and three former Dwyer teammates -- to Gainesville, against his mother's wishes.

Former Michigan standout Tate Forcier and Rutgers freshman All-American Tom Savage remain transfer possibilities for the Hurricanes at quarterback. Both would have to sit out the 2011 season if they picked UM per NCAA transfer rules. Forcier is reportedly going to visit UM sometime this week.

Just my opinion, but of the two, Savage is more likely to end up a Hurricane. Forcier had academic issues before leaving Michigan and is more likely to end up closer to home on the West Coast. Savage's grandparents own a home in South Florida.

> As the Canes look for a quarterback of the future, here is an interesting read from Rivals about Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers, who had zero offers coming out of high school.

> The Hurricanes could end up adding another defensive tackle to their 2011 signing class sometime this week. According to InsideTheU.com, Bradenton Manatee senior Quinton Pompey (6-3, 275) still remains unsigned and is waiting on Miami according to his high school coach. Pompey's other offers are from Georgia Southern and Eastern Kentucky. Pompey was lightly recruited because of academic struggles, but has apparently worked them out according to his coach.

> Men's basketball coach Frank Haith, whose team pulled out two close home wins last week to keep their faint postseason hopes alive, said it looks like his two leading scorers Durand Scott and Malcolm Grant, and starting swingman Garrius Adams, finally appear to be getting past the flu.

The bigger concern? Sophomore center Reggie Johnson, who continues to battle issues with his right foot. Johnson, averaging 12 points and 9.9 rebounds a game (third most in the ACC), had bone spurs in his foot earlier this season. He played a season-high 34 minutes in Saturday's overtime win over Virginia.

"He has a reaction in his foot," Haith said during Monday's ACC teleconference. "We got to see that goes. He didn't practice Friday and I think he's going to be tabled at practice. We'll wait to see what the doctors say today."

> ESPN's Bruce Feldman said former UM coach Randy Shannon is supposed to interview for the vacant defensive coordinator job at Maryland later this week. Shannon interviewed for the same position with UCLA last month.

> Looks like another former Hurricanes assistant has landed at Alabama. Joe Pannunzio, who coached the special teams and tight ends under Shannon the last four years, has reportedly been hired in an "off the field role" by Nick Saban. Alabama hired former offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland last month.

> Just a reminder: the Hurricanes baseball team will have its team banquet Friday night at 6 p.m. and Fan Fest Saturday at 3 p.m. Jim Morris' team opens its season at home a week from Friday (Feb. 18) against Rutgers.

> Also, in case you missed Jorge Milian's blog from last week, UM is in talks with Florida State about scheduling next season's game as the season-opener on Labor Day. It's still not finalized.

January 21, 2011

UM hopes to end ACC road woes at NC State

Hurricanes point guard Malcolm Grant said he'd like to own a black Dodge Charger some day soon so he can stop bothering his teammates for a ride. But first, the 6-1, 180-pound junior from Brooklyn has to finally get his drivers license.

Malcolm Grant "I've taken [the test] once and failed really bad," Grant said Friday. "It's a really funny story. I ran into the cones when I was parking. The [instructor] asked me, 'How long have you been driving?' I said, 'Two weeks.' He said, 'That's the reason right there. You're not ready. You're not ready to drive.'

"He kind of hurt my feelings and I got out of the car real mad. But I can drive now. I just wasn't ready for the test the other day."

UM coach Frank Haith, who likes to give Grant a hard time about his driving, joked South Floridians should be happy Grant isn't on the road. "He has a tough time figuring out how to put his seatbelt on," Haith said. "So, there's no way he should get a license."

Haith doesn't want to see Grant behind the wheel, but he's definitely hoping he can start steering the Hurricanes' offense in the right direction beginning Sunday at the RBC Center in Raleigh, N.C. against N.C. State (11-7, 1-3).

UM has lost 11 straight road games in the ACC and is coming off its first home loss of the season Wednesday night to rival Florida State -- a bitter defeat that saw the Hurricanes (12-6, 1-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) blow a seven-point lead with over six minutes to play.

Grant, who scored 20 points, was the only UM player to score in double-digits and make a field goal (a three-pointer) over the final six minutes of the game.

Despite holding FSU to a season-low 19.2 percent shooting in the first half and leading by as many as 12 points, the Canes converted only six of their final 22 field goal attempts and shot 34 percent for the game. Sophomore guard Durand Scott missed two crucial lay-ups on UM's final two offensive possessions -- including one that would have tied the game with three seconds to play.

"Looking back at the film, maybe I should have looked back around to see who was open instead of going directly to the basket," Scott said. "That would have been my better choice. But in the heat of the moment, it's kind of hard to think about stopping knowing there is 10 seconds on the clock."

Grant took UM's final shot -- a three-pointer -- with two defenders in his face as the final second was ticking off the clock. It was partially blocked. Grant said Friday he was fouled attempting it. But referees didn't call it and ruled the shot was released after the game clock had expired.

"After the game, the day after I was still upset about it," Grant said. "But I just had to let it go man... Nobody is really panicking yet. We understand what our record was last year. But at the same time we know its a long season. We're ready to keep fighting."

N.C. State is coming off three consecutive losses to the top three teams in the league: Florida State, Boston College and Duke. But the Wolfpack, picked to finish fourth in the ACC in the preseason, are a dangerous team according to Haith.

Coach Sidney Lowe recruited the seventh best freshman class in the country last season according to ESPN, adding 6-8, 205-pound forward C.J. Leslie (11.2 ppg, 8.0 rpg) and guard Lorenzo Brown (8.9 ppg, 3.2 apg) to a team already featuring All-ACC forward Tracy Smith (15.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg) and swingman Scott Wood (10.9 ppg), one of the league's top three-point shooters.

"It's a very gifted team in terms of talent," Haith said. "They've lost a couple games here late. I'm sure they think its a home game they got to have to get back in the race. But we feel like its a road game we have to have. It should be an intense basketball game."

A big key for UM's struggling will be getting center Reggie Johnson more involved in the offense. UM's third leading scorer has been battling bone spurs in his right foot since the day after the Canes' loss at Duke on Jan. 2. Johnson has scored 22 points combined over his last three games and hasn't attempted more than six field goals in any of those games. He's averaged under 25 minutes during that span while also battling foul trouble.

"When we do see Reggie's number -- and that 42 is hard to miss -- we got to throw it to him," Haith said. "But he has to do his work early. People are looking to take him out. He's got to work a little harder. The other night he missed a couple shots, got frustrated, so he wasn't himself. That's part of his maturity. He can't let past plays affect his current play."

As much as UM's offense has struggled, turnovers really haven't been the problem. Since ACC play began, the Canes haven't had more than 12 in any of their first four games. Haith said the problem hasn't been shot selection either.

"If you really dissect it, we really got some good looks," Haith said. "Adrian Thomas from three-point range with nobody in front of him. That's a good shot. Everytime we got the ball inside to Reggie he missed a couple bunnies. Those are good shots for us.

"That's tell me we're doing okay offensively. We just have to make some shots. "


> Haith doesn't want to get fined for complaining about the officiating on Wednesday, but he was obviously upset with the discrepancy (UM went to the line 20 times, FSU went 30).

"Couple plays that could have gone either way," Haith said of the officiating Friday. "The play before Durand brought the ball up with 10 seconds, there was a lot of contact there. The referee didn't think it was enough to warrant the foul. Durand's next play though was tough to see. Malcolm's [last-second shot] there was some contact there. It's part of it. Late game, referees want to make sure they see it good before they make a call like that... I'm being politically correct of course."

> Although they aren't exactly as stingy as Florida State when it comes to clamping down on shooters, UM's defense has steadily improved this season at least in conference play. Last year, UM ranked last in three-point shooting defense (.386) and ninth in field goal defense (.440). Through four games against three of the top teams in the standings: UM ranks seventh in field goal defense (.429) and fifth against three-pointers (.318).

"We went into the year thinking we were going to be a primary zone defense. We worked on it a lot. But I think we're a pretty good man defense too," Haith said. "Against Boston College we played a lot of man, we mixed it in a lot. I think it's good to have the ability to do both. Our zone has man principles. It's very similar. We pressure the ball, have help side defense, we rotate. It's very similar other than we're stationary. We don't run all over the court."

> Haith said freshman forward Erik Swoope might be the toughest and grittiest guy on the team.

"This guy turned his ankle the day before. His ankle ballooned up. He finished practice. [Our trainer] said 'He better go get an x-ray because I think it's broken.' He comes back, finds out its not broken, says 'I'm playing.' He can hardly walk, gets treatment all day and he's playing," Haith said.

"He has that 'it' factor. I love him. I love what he stands for. I love what he's all about. You can win with guys like that. He's a little undersized. But he plays with a lot of grit."

> Haith said he's hopeful swing man DeQuan Jones (broken right hand) will return some point later on this season. Without Jones on Wednesday, Haith juggled his lineup a bit -- giving more time to his freshmen.

"We ended up sizing down, playing Adrian [Thomas] more at the three and moving Raphael [Akpejiori] in the post. That's what we have to do. Hopefully, Rion Brown will get more minutes too."

> Even though they're 1-3 in league play and likely need to win seven of their final 12 league games to have any shot at going to the NCAA Tournament, Malcolm Grant isn't worried.

"We're going to continue to do the same things we've been doing," Grant said. "We're going to turn it around. Nobody is panicking. We all still believe we're going to make the tournament, we're going to do it -- I know that for a fact."

January 19, 2011

Canes' D. Jones breaks hand, out indefinitely

The Miami Hurricanes just got a little thinner at small forward.

DeQuan Jones Junior swingman DeQuan Jones has been ruled out indefinitely after breaking his right hand during Saturday's 72-71 win over Boston College on Saturday. Jones (6-7, 219) has started in eight games and played in all 17 games for the Hurricanes (12-5, 1-2) this season, averaging 5.2 points and 2.5 rebounds.

Jones came to UM as a 5-star recruit according to Rivals and Scout.com, but hasn't lived up to the lofty expectations, starting 31 games and averaging 4.4 points and 2.1 rebounds over his career.

The Hurricanes host Florida State (13-5, 3-1 ACC) at 9 p.m. at BankUnited Center. The game is being televised on SunSports. The Seminoles have won eight of the last nine meetings and lead the country in field goal percentage defense. 

January 10, 2011

UM women crack Top 25 poll at No. 22

The University of Miami women's basketball team is back in the Associated Press Top 25 poll.

The Hurricanes, who have won 15 consecutive games, found themselves at No. 22 Monday afternoon following a pair of ACC road wins last week at Virginia and Virginia Tech. Last year, UM entered the poll at No. 25 for the first time since 2004 after knocking off then 13th-ranked Florida State. But they were only ranked a week after losing to then No. 8 Duke. 

The Hurricanes have been led by the three-headed monster of junior guards Shenise Johnson and Riquna Williams and sophomore forward Morgan Stroman. Williams and Johnson are the top two leading scorers in the ACC averaging 19.8 and 19.1 points per game. Stroman is averaging 14.5 points.

"I'm certainly happy that our players and staff have been recognized nationally for all their hard work," UM coach Katie Meier said in a press release from the school. "I have a lot of faith and belief in our team and I am confident we will keep practicing and preparing for the ACC schedule in order to reach our goals moving forward."

UM (16-1, 2-0 ACC) returns home this week to face Clemson Friday night and Boston College on Sunday at 1 p.m. Both games will be televised by FSN.

> When it comes to quality big men, UM's men's basketball has a rather large one in 6-10, 303-pound sophomore Reggie Johnson. But beyond Big Reg, the Canes have proven to be a bit thin. Saturday's 79-72 loss at Clemson was proof as the Tigers dominated UM on the inside with a gimpy Johnson battling bone spurs in his right foot.

UM coach Frank Haith said during Monday's ACC Teleconference he's hoping Johnson can make a quick recovery this week in time for Saturday's 6 p.m. tip-off against Boston College at BankUnited Center. Haith said Saturday Johnson didn't practice all of last week and had his foot in a walking boot.

> Latwan Anderson, a highly touted All-American cornerback from Glenville, Ohio who signed a track scholarship with the Hurricanes last year with the hopes of eventually playing football, will not be returning to the program.

Chris Freet, UM's Associate Athletic Director for Communication said Anderson, who left in December, is no longer a part of the Miami Athletics Department and will not be with UM during the spring semester.

"Latwan did not fulfill the requirements to be a student-athlete at the University of Miami," Freet said.

> Al Golden and the UM football team is expected to announce the hiring of the final two assistant coaches -- including offensive coordinator -- in the next 12 to 24 hours.

December 18, 2010

LIVE! Hurricane Hoops from Sunrise ... Miami (7-2) vs. UCF (9-0) @ BankAtlantic Center, 1 p.m.

Caneshoops George Richards here LIVE! from the BankAtlantic Center in scenic Sunrise.

It's a little chilly in here, but that's what happens sometimes when hockey meets the hardwood.

The Panthers ice is covered up and there's a basketball court. Hopefully some fans will join us. If not, we're here for you.

The first game of this Orange Bowl double-dip features Miami against the upstart UCF Knights. UCF hasn't played too many tough teams, but they did knock off the Gators. The Gator plays Frank Martin's Kansas State squad in the second game.

Anyway, the LIVE! chat is below. Just click on the play button to see the posts. If you have a question or comment, submit it and I'll approve it (as long as it's clean). That process may take a moment or two so be patient.

Let's play two!


November 17, 2010

UM returns from Memphis with lessons learned

The University of Miami men's basketball team got back to work Wednesday, less than 48 hours after dropping a 72-68 early morning heartbreaker at 19th-ranked Memphis. 

Malcolm Grant Coach Frank Haith said his team learned a few lessons, including the importance of hitting free throws late in the game and avoiding defensive breakdowns.

"I thought our kids played really really hard, learned a lot," Haith said. "Obviously we turned the ball over [18 times]. We had our chances to win the game there at the end. We were up [63-59] with [3:55] to go, had a couple turnovers and they converted. Then, we had a defensive breakdown. We had played great defense all game. I think they made 19 field goals [of 56 attempts]. Against our set defense, they only made nine field goals. The rest were off transition and easy buckets.

"Then, the only time we really had a major breakdown they hit it. Free throw shooting also hurt us late game. With all that said, if we make our free throws we're still able to win the game. All in all, great learning experience, great environment. Early in the year we want to play those type of games on the road against a Top 20 team. But I'm proud of our kids and how hard we fought and competed to give us a chance to win the game."

Point guard Malcolm Grant, who missed an off-balance game-tying three-point shot with three seconds left on UM's final possession, said he learned a lesson too. "I was trying to draw the foul at the end," Grant. "But I was told refs don't always make those calls at the end. So, I know from now on, shoot my regular shot instead of trying to draw a foul. But you learn from it. I missed the shot. I'll definitely remember that. It won't keep me down."

The Hurricanes (1-1) will get back on the court Friday at 7 p.m. when they host North Carolina Central (1-1) at BankUnited Center.

Haith said one thing he'd like to focus on over the next few weeks is getting Grant and Durand Scott fewer minutes in the first half and sophomore center Reggie Johnson more minutes overall. Grant is averaging 33.5 minutes a game -- up from the 24.6 he averaged a year ago. Scott is averaging 31.5 minutes -- up from 27.8.

"We haven't had a guy play those type of minutes before," Haith said. "We can give them some early rest so they aren't gassed in the end. We also have to keep Reggie in the game. Two games in a row, he's been saddled with two fouls early and only played [21] minutes [versus Memphis]. We need him to play more minutes."

Haith said N.C. Central, coming off a 7-22 season, will be "a very tough game." The Eagles, who return their top eight leading scorers, lost in overtime at Oklahoma Monday night. North Carolina Central, which is reclassifying from Division II to Division I college basketball, has a 41-game losing streak on the road.

"They're better than they were last year," Haith said. "Central is athletic, they'll change defenses. They played almost all zone against Oklahoma. In previous years, they've been a pressing team. I think we have to expect to play against both."


November 10, 2010

Haith: Daniels a high-flier like Diaz

The University of Miami men’s basketball team signed Bishop Daniels to a National Letter of Intent Wednesday, adding a high-flying combo guard to its roster that coach Frank Haith said reminds him of Guillermo Diaz.

Daniels, a 6-foot-2, 175-pounder from Raleigh, N.C., is ranked as the 112th best recruit by Rivals.com. He averaged 13 points and five assists per game for Word of God Christian Academy (N.C.) last season -- the same school that produced first overall pick John Wall two years ago.

"He's a true combo right now, but eventually will be a point guard," Haith said. "He's coming to a team that's going to pretty much be the same team next year. So we can kind of grow him.

"The way he flies, he's like Guillermo [Diaz]. He's a really athletic player. I don't remember Guillermo in high school in terms of how good a shooter he was. But he was a great shooter when he left here. Bishop has to work to that. But he's that kind of athlete."

Daniels, who played AAU ball for the CP3 All-Stars and was also recruited by schools such as N.C. State and Purdue, is the final recruit in the Canes' 2011 signing class. The Canes, who open the season Friday night at home against Jacksonville, used their other scholarships on 6-11 center Kenny Kadji and 6-5 guard Trey McKinney-Jones, who transferred in from other programs. Both will sit out this season per NCAA transfer rules.

"We're only going to loss Adrian Thomas from this team," Haith said. "I think we're going to be in pretty good shape this year and next."

October 28, 2010

News, notes from basketball media day at UM

The University of Miami men's and women's basketball teams accomplished something last year that had never been done before: they each finished with at 20 wins in the same season. With the bulk of those teams back, expectations are high as both believe they should make it to the NCAA Tournament.

Will they get there? We'll find out in March. But here are some news and notes from Wednesday's media day in Coral Gables:

> Men's coach Frank Haith, whose team opens the exhibition season next Wednesday at home against Barry, finished 20-12 and reached the semifinal round of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament before losing to eventual national champion Duke.

Durand Scott "We had our media day in North Carolina last week and somebody asked me if you can have momentum carry over last year. And my answer was yeah -- if you have the bulk of your team back from last season, which we do,'' Haith said.

"I think we got a team good enough to finish in the middle of the pack. Does that mean we'll finish fifth or sixth? I don't know, we could probably second or third. I think we have a team that can finish in the upper half of this league."

> The two things Haith said he challenged talented sophomore Durand Scott to improve after last season was his role as a vocal leader and his three-point shooting (he was only 16 of 58, .276 as a freshman). It appears Scott, who attended Chris Paul's prestigious camp for guards over the summer, has done both. 

"I've seen a drastic change in Durand," junior swingman Dequan Jones said. "He's one of those kids where he was naturally born to lead. He has an ambience about him that makes you want to follow him. I think now he's really tapped into who he is and how he's going to lead the team vocally and by example. Guys are ready to rally behind him and win some games. In practice everyday he gets guys going. He's always vocal whether we're running dummy offense or playing five-on-five live. He's always talking, saying screen left or screen right. He gives you that confidence on the court that he's always there."

Haith said Scott has also already shown an improved shooting touch. He just doesn't want him to make the mistake of feeling like he has to prove it during the games, rather flash it. "Durand has to be a well-rounded, all-around player," Haith said. "The strength of his game is getting in the paint. I think it will be even more effective if he can make shots. I don’t want him to have to prove to people he’s a three-point shooter. That’s the worst thing a young player can do when they think they lack in our area and the first opportunity they get they have to prove they’re a three-point shooter. You have to do you. We had a practice the other day and Durand made three or three threes in a row. He’s definitely worked at it. It’s all about working game speed with Durand.

> There were plenty of highlights for the Canes during the summer -- trips to different parts of the world and what not. But the big highlight? When LeBron James and several NBA players (Chris Bosh, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade) came in and spent three days playing pick-up games with the team over the summer.

"They came in here and played ball with us -- it wasn't just breaking a sweat or anything like that," forward Julian Gamble said. "They talked to us, kidded around. It was a great opportunity, once in a lifetime. These are superstar guys that get paid hundreds of millions of dollars do what they do. For them to come in there and act like one of us, showed us how they’re people too. The way they came in here how humble they were, it was really great."

Scott said he was able to steal the ball once from LeBron. Any dunks? "No," Scott said laughing. "I wish."

> Since practice started Oct. 15, Haith said guard Malcolm Grant, a 6-1, 180-pound junior who is expected to join standout sophomore Durand Scott in the starting back court, has stood out the most. "He's playing with such confidence, playing quicker,'' Haith said. "I told him to study a former player I had at Texas, D.J. Augustin. [Grant] reminds me a lot of D.J."

Haith said Grant, who lost about 10 pounds in the offseason, made his biggest strides "in terms of pace, how he can accelerate and his ability to shoot the ball."

"He's playing at a high level right now," Haith said.

> Forward Julian Gamble (6-9, 258) returned to practice Monday after sitting out a month following surgery to repair or a torn meniscus in his left knee. "It's just a process of getting back into shape, just jelling with the guys,'' said Gamble, who says he doesn't feel any discomfort in the knee. "I'm really happy to be back out there when I'm not sucking wind on the sidelines, trying to survive.''

Haith expects Gamble, who started 11 games in a row to close out the 2009 season and averaged 6.3 rebounds over his last seven starts, to be ready by the time the Hurricanes play their first road game at Memphis Nov. 15. The Tigers debuted at No. 19 in the preseason AP poll.

> Junior swingman Dequan Jones has been rather unspectacular most of his career despite coming to UM as one of the most highly touted recruits Haith has brought in. Last year, he averaged 5.7 points, 2.1 rebounds and had just 15 steals and 16 blocks in 20 starts. But his strong showing at the ACC tournament, when he averaged 11.7 points, has Haith optimistic about Jones' future.

Jones said he's continued to work hard in the offseason on his jump shot, putting up 500 to 600 shots a day after practice when he's already tired. Jones said he wouldn't leave the court until he's done making at least 300. "Jump shooting has been a big thing for me in the offseason," Jones said. "Most people come in at different times to shoot. When you shoot after practice, when your body is tired, that's more like a game situation."

> Freshman forward Raphael Akpejiori (6-8, 229), who sustained a stress reaction in his foot when practice first began on Oct. 15, is being closely monitored said Haith. As for his play, Haith said: "He is relentless on the court. I love that about him. Compared to say Dwayne Collins at the same stage, he’s got more skill set than Dwayne does. Dwayne was very raw as a freshman. [Akpejiori] has good low post moves. He has really tremendous instincts around the basket in terms of keeping balls alive. He’s not afraid of contact. He even gave the old [Dikembe] Mutombo move the other day at practice. He has all the things I love in terms of energy and enthusiasm."

> Haith said redshirt freshman forward Donnavan Kirk (6-9, 227) will definitely be in the rotation this season and play quite a bit. "He gives us athleticism in the post,'' Haith said. "He's a pretty good skill [player] too. He can make a shot 17-feet in. I think he'll be a three-point shooter before his career is over. He's a guy that's not allergic to working."

Reggie Johnson > At 6-10 and athletic 303-pounds, sophomore center Reggie Johnson can be a pretty intimidating presence on the basketball court. But could you picture him wearing shoulder pads, a helmet and standing side by side with 6-8, 355-pound freshman tackle Seantrel Henderson?

Apparently, Hurricanes football coach Randy Shannon already has. Johnson, who held court for about 20 minutes with reporters (telling funny stories about his offseason trip to China and how he tripped and fell during his tour of the Great Wall), said Shannon has joked with him in the past about coming out for football.

"Coach always says, `Hey, big fella, come on out to the football field. You saw Jimmy Graham, right? Look where he is now: Making millions,'" Johnson said. "I'm like, `Yes, sir.'"

Johnson, who impressed at last year's ACC Tournament averaging 13.7 points, eight rebounds, and 1.7 blocks in earning Second Team all-tournament honors, probably won't ever have to do it. His basketball talents are already drawing the attention of NBA scouts. But would he try football if hoops didn't work out? "Hopefully I don't have to; I want to stick with basketball," Johnson said. "[But] If it comes about I think I would. It could be [an option]."

Johnson of course would have to get over one big issue: his fear of Shannon. "I'm afraid of coach Shannon for no reason, I don't know why," Johnson said. "He walks up, comes to my class - and even though he's not checking on me - I straighten up, raise my hand, pay attention. I can't explain it."

> Haith said Dwayne Collins, drafted 60th overall by the Suns last June, is back home in Miami. Collins was playing in the Italian basketball league top level for Pallacanestro Varese. Former Canes Jack McClinton, Rob Hite and Brian Asbury are all playing in Israel. Haith said last he heard Guillermo Diaz was playing in Puerto Rico and Anthony King was in Germany. 

> Women's coach Katie Meier, whose team is bringing back its top two scorers in Shenise "Moe Moe" Johnson and Riquna "Bay Bay" Williams from a 22-14 season which ended with a runner-up in the NIT, said the biggest improvement her team has made is in the backcourt.

"The difference between this year and last year will be that when the game is on the line and there is four minutes left in the game, [Johnson and Williams] won't have played 34 minutes already and try to win the game when they're completely exhausted,'' Meier said. "There is a lot on those two kids and in end of the game situations they were pretty much spent. It's my job as a coach to give them the eight minute media rest, plus a couple more minutes in the second half so when its time to bring their A-game in the last two minutes of the game, they can do that."

> Freshman guard Krystal Saunders, a 5-8 standout from South Broward High, is one of the new additions Meier is most excited about. She said Saunders' scoring ability … particularly from three-point range -- should help spread the floor even more for Johnson and Williams to penetrate.

"Her style and our style is a great marriage," Meier said. "She's really showing up in practice."

August 13, 2010

Haith would welcome Seantrel on court

If there is one thing University of Miami freshman Seantrel Henderson has done in his first week in football camp, it's impress his new teammates with his athleticism.

Seantrel Henderson "Big guys just aren't supposed to move that way," defensive end Olivier Vernon said earlier this week. "He runs so well, so fluid."

Henderson (6-8, 350) was more than just the nation's No. 1 offensive tackle coming out of Cretin-Derham Hall in St. Paul, Minn. He was also one of the nation's best big men on the basketball court. Just how good was he? Let's just say if the big guy was willing to try to pull a Julius Peppers or Charlie Ward and Randy Shannon was willing to give him the go-ahead, Frank Haith said he would welcome Henderson with open arms.

"We actually called him and were interested in him," Haith said Wednesday. "He's a good basketball player. He really has good mobility, good hands. He can hold his own. I think he could play and be an effective player at this level."

For three years, Henderson played on the same AAU team (the Howard Pulley Panthers) as Harrison Barnes, the nation's No. 1 high school basketball player who signed with North Carolina. Haith said he would love to see Henderson what it would look like if Henderson was patrolling the paint alongside sophomore center Reggie Johnson (6-10, 305).

"There would be no room for anybody else on the court," Haith joked. "It's not the easiest thing to do [to play two sports]. I'm sure his future is in football in terms of the NFL. But he definitely has a skill set. I'm not going to root for it. But if he wanted to, we would definitely welcome it."

The likelihood that we ever see Henderson dribble a basketball at UM is likely next to none. But considering Jimmy Graham made the move from hoops to football and gave the Canes a huge lift at tight end, maybe Shannon could do Haith a favor and let Henderson play some hoops if Haith needs him? Just a thought.

> BIG GAMES ON TAP: Now that the NBA schedule has been released, look for the college basketball schedule to be released soon (likely the beginning of September). The Hurricanes won't have nearly as many national appearances as LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and the Miami Heat, but they've lined up a few games that are at least sexy on paper and could get them on TV.

Haith said the Canes will play their first road game and make their first national TV appearance kicking off ESPN's College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon (24 consecutive hours of college hoops) with a midnight game at Memphis right after Monday Night Football in mid-November. After that, UM is supposed to host both Ole Miss, an NIT semifinalist, and West Virginia, a Final Four team last year, in December. There is also a road trip to Rutgers and a Christmas tournament in Las Vegas with Rice, Akron and Oral Roberts, teams that all finished with 20 wins last season. "I think it's a really good schedule that's going to test us early," Haith said. 

North Carolina and Duke, the last two national champions, will both travel to BankUnited Center. The Canes will not have to play at UNC, but do have a trip to Duke. "They'll be the best team in the country this year," Haith said of Duke. "You talk about the Plumlees. Kyle [Singler] is terrific. He's one of my favorite players. I shouldn't say favorite. He's been a Miami killer. But the way he plays and what he does. He's great."

The Canes definitely played the Blue Devils tough before losing to them at the ACC Tournament semifinals. While Haith said his players gained some confidence from playing the Blue Devils tough, coming close to beating great teams just isn't enough anymore. 

"Yeah, we played Duke tough," Haith said. "But we want to beat Duke. Our goal is to have our program win championships. It does give us a little confidence. But I want our guys to understand the big picture. Hopefully, we can learn from a team like Duke. They have guys like Zoubek who is a complete role guy. Those guys bought into a role for the betterment of the team. That's how you win."

Frank Haith> RETURNING PLAYERS UPDATE: Haith said he's been happy with the offseason his players have had, especially under new trainer Todor Pandov

Sophomore guard Durand Scott participated in Chris Paul's camp. "I think he's gotten stronger, bigger," Haith said. "He was just a wiry freshman last year. He looks more put together now."

Junior forward Julian Gamble spent his summer playing in a league in North Carolina, alongside players from Duke, N.C. State and the Tar Heels. 

Point guard Malcolm Grant spent his summer training on campus and he's lost weight, dropping down from 190 to about 183. "I thought he was overweight last year," Haith said. "I think we'll see a player with a little bit more burst, a little more quickness."

Reggie Johnson is currently playing in China with Athletes in Action. Haith said he is proud of the way Johnson continues to monitor his weight and be responsible about eating. "I get daily text messages from out there," Haith said. "One day, they were all chose to go to McDonald's. Reggie chose not to go. It was good because I think he knew we were going to be tracking him."

The only player who hasn't been able to get much work done this offseason, according to Haith, has been junior swingman DeQuan Jones. "He's been down all summer," Haith said. "He hurt [his ankle] early in the summer and hasn't really done a whole lot. He's still not 100 percent. It was a really bad sprain. He was playing one-on-one with Malcolm Grant and wasn't wearing an ankle bracelet. He just came down and landed wrong on his foot. He's going to be rusty when he comes back."

Guard Trey McKinney-Jones, a transfer from the University of Missour-Kansas City, has also been injured this summer. McKinney-Jones, however, isn't eligible to play until the 2011-2012 season per NCAA transfer rules anyway. "He had a rib situation going on," Haith said. "Something to do with cartilage."

> Of the three freshmen to arrive, Haith said guard Rion Brown is most likely to make an impact right away. "He's going to be a major player for us," Haith said. "He's another guy that came in really slender. But he's picked up about 10 pounds already. Rion can score the ball. He shot almost 60 percent in high school. He has good bloodlines. His dad, Tico Brown, was the CBA's leading scorer.

> With Dwayne Collins and Cyrus McGowan gone, redshirt freshman Donnovan Kirk's role will significantly increase in the post. Haith said Kirk, who came in weighing 210 pounds, has added the bulk he's needed to compete in the ACC.

"Like Dwayne, Donnovan has that length you want," Haith said. "I think his wingspan is 7-3. He's very athletic. He plays hard, has a big-time motor. I'm not sure how we'll use him, but he'll play major minutes. He's like 225-230 now. You just love his activity as a live wire. He can shoot the ball, has a nice jump hook."

"I like our post guys. We don't have a lot of depth there in terms of numbers. But with Reggie, Julian, Donnovan, Adrian Thomas we should be good."

Freshman Raphael Akpejiori (6-9, 235) will probably only redshirt if those four stay injury free. "Raphael won't be ready to come in and be a major player right away," Haith said. "But I think he could be like Jimmy Graham was for us as a freshman. He was big, strong, physical, rebounded and played defense."

> The Hurricanes only have one scholarship remaining for the 2011 class now that forward Kenny Kadji has transferred over from Florida. "With Kenny taking one, we can kind of be selective," Haith said. "Since we don't have a lot of scholarships, we made sure to see a lot of juniors this summer. We're involved with a lot of good ones."

March 31, 2010

Guard Antoine Allen transferring

The University of Miami announced Wednesday that freshman guard Antoine Allen has decided to transfer and pursue basketball at another school. 

Antoine Allen Allen, a 6-1 guard from the same AAU program Jack McClinton played for in Baltimore, averaged 2.9 points and 0.8 rebounds while converting 41.7 percent from long range in 17 appearances last season. He was named to the All-ACC Academic Men’s Basketball Team.

“I appreciate Antoine’s efforts this season,” UM coach Frank Haith said in prepared statement. “I support his decision to seek additional playing time with another program and I wish him well.”

The Canes return nine players including four starters -- Durand Scott, Reggie Johnson, DeQuan Jones and Julian Gamble -- who helped the team reach the semifinals of the ACC Tournament. Allen played one minute against Wake Forest in the ACC Tournament and had not played at all before that since the trip to Maryland on Jan. 26.

March 21, 2010

Canes beat Gators 77-64 in second round of Women's NIT

Hey guys, Andre Fernandez here. Here's an update from the Canes' women's NIT game against the Gators:

In front of several of its women's basketball alumni, the Canes kept their season going with a 77-64 victory against the Florida Gators Sunday afternoon at the BankUnited Center.

UM won its second postseason game in a season for the first time in school history. The tournament expanded to 64 teams this season. It is the Canes' first trip to the Round of 16 since the 2005-06 season.

And UM will host again.

The Canes will play North Carolina A&T Thursday night at 7 p.m. at the BankUnited Center.

UM dominated the game and had four players score in double figures.

Shenise Johnson posted a game-high 19 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Canes, but Charmaine Clark had 16 points, Diane Barnes had 13 and Riquna Williams had 15.

The Canes also dominated on the boards, finishing with a 43-31 edge and 15-10 on offensive rebounds. The only thing that kept the game close was UF's three-point shooting. The Gators made 9 of 26 from beyond the arc, but Miami countered by making 7 of 22 from three-point range.

March 14, 2010

NIT passes on Canes

Frank Haith's basketball team made a lot of noise in the ACC Tournament. It apparently just wasn't enough to get the attention of the NIT selection committee.

When the NIT brackets were finally unveiled on ESPNU for the 32-team tournament moments ago, the Canes (20-13) were nowhere to be found. Unless Haith has a change of heart, that means UM's season has come to an end. Last week, Haith told reporters if his team received an invite to anything other than NIT, it would pass.

It's a tough way for UM to end the year, especially since they seemed to be playing at their best now. 

Miami won an opening round NIT game last year at Providence before losing to Florida in the second round. The Hurricanes have been to the postseason in four of Haith's first six seasons as coach. 

March 12, 2010

Canes proving they were better than last place

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- The press room inside the Greensboro Coliseum is usually a pretty quiet place. At around 4:30 p.m. Friday, the neighbors did a nice job disrupting the peace. On the other side of the thick brick wall dividing the press from the locker rooms, a jubilant University of Miami basketball team could be heard celebrating their second upset win in a row at the ACC Tournament.

Durand Scott Before Friday, no UM team had ever won two post season conference games in the same season. Not the one Jack McClinton took to the second round of the NCAA Tournament two years ago. Not even the one that shared the Big East Title in 2000. Somehow, the most successful tournament team in UM history has become the one that finished in last place and is surviving without its leading scorer and rebounder.

"For real?" a puzzled Reggie Johnson told me when I mentioned his Canes were the first to win twice in a post-season conference tournament. "I had no idea. I guess that means we should have been doing this all year then."

It's far too late for UM (20-12) to receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. The only way for the Canes to go dancing is to beat top-seeded Duke Saturday and then win again Sunday. But one can only imagine the what-if scenarios at this point.
What if Durand Scott would have actually listened to Haith and been more aggressive at the start of the season instead of waiting for the final month to show everybody why he was so highly touted?
> What if DeQuan Jones would have averaged 14 points a game -- what he's done at the ACC Tournament -- instead of losing his spot in the starting rotation, his confidence and riding the pine since Christmas?
> What if Dwayne Collins would have gone pro? Would a full season of Reggie Johnson and Julian Gamble been more fruitful for the Canes?
Would the Canes have blown a 17-point lead at home against Boston College?
Would UM have let their 12-point halftime lead against Duke wilt away?
> Would Miami really have finished in last place?

There's no way to really know. But there is a feeling in the Canes' locker room things would have definitely been different. Scott admitted he was nervous early this season to step on anybody's toes, despite the fact Haith was pushing him to take on a bigger role. 

Friday, though, Scott had no problem handling it. With the game against Virginia Tech in the balance, he scored 11 points over the final six minutes by attacking the basket like it was nobody's business. His teammates were glad he did.

"Coach said four low and just move out the way and let Durand go to work," guard Malcolm Grant said. "Durand's a great driver and a great finisher. It was just great for him to come through. The way I've always felt about it is whoever helps us win, that's who we want to do it."

The Canes are finally coming through this season. Win or lose against Duke, all U can say is better late than never.

I'm certainly not trying to single out Haith, Collins or anybody on this team for its regular season underachievement. What I'm saying is after watching them beat two NCAA Tournament teams in a row here, its obvious they should have been better than last place. This is a young basketball team and its taken time for them to learn how to win, feel confident. But it's obvious the talent was there for better results.


> For those of you still wishing for Frank Haith's reign as Canes coach to be over, ESPN reporter Andy Katz posted on his Twitter account that Haith could be a candidate to replace Jeff Lebo at Auburn, who was fired Friday. Haith and the Canes were already gone when Katz tweeted the message.

> With UM's two wins in the tournament, the Canes have gone from missing the NIT entirely to at least having a shot.

> According to UM's sports information office, Ohio star cornerback Latwan Anderson has formally signed his national letter of intent for his track scholarship.

Do Canes have another upset in them?

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- The Hurricanes' upset of fifth-seeded Wake Forest Thursday was by far the best thing that has happened for Frank Haith's basketball team since it began the season 15-1. It wasn't just the fact the Canes kept their NIT and NCAA hopes alive, but the way the team played in its 21-point blowout. UM finally showed the energy, aggressiveness and athleticism Haith thought his young team would display more of throughout the season.

Reggie Johnson  So the question now becomes: Was it just a one-game deal? Or, are we going to see this style of play from the Canes moving forward? Is DeQuan Jones going to go back into a shell? Are Reggie Johnson and Julian Gamble going to continue to control the paint with their size and athleticism? 

The biggest thing injured senior Dwayne Collins said has been lacking this year for some of the young guys has been establishing consistent confidence. At times, he says, they don't realize how talented they are. "With DJ it's all about his confidence," Collins said. "When he has confidence, he can do anything. [Thursday] He just played free. He's a great player. But a lot of times he playes with a lot on his mind."

"I've been telling Reggie he's a beast forever. But sometimes, he doesn't believe it."

The Canes have won first round ACC games a few times before. This is the fourth time in six seasons UM has won a first round game at the tournament. But long post season runs aren't something the Hurricanes are known for. Miami has never won more than one conference tournament game in a season and reached the semifinal round just twice in the Big East (1999, 2000). 

So, if the Canes win today it won't just be a great step forward for this team, but for the program, too. 

Here are today's projected starting lineups...

UM (19-12) Yr. Stats
C Reggie Johnson, 6-10, 295      R-Fr.         6.2 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 12.7 mpg
F Julian Gamble, 6-9, 255 R-So.        3.5 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 0.8 bpg
F DeQuan Jones, 6-6 219 So. 5.3 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 0.5 bpg
G James Dews, 6-4, 213 Sr. 11.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 1.6 apg
G Durand Scott, 6-3, 195 Fr. 9.7 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 3.5 apg

Virginia Tech (23-7) Yr. Stats
C Victor Davila, 6-8, 245 So. 5.2 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 0.8 bpg
F Jeff Allen, 6-7, 230  Jr.  12.0 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 1.8 spg
F Terrell Bell, 6-6, 205  Jr.   5.8 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 1.1 bpg
G Malcolm Delaney, 6-3, 190      Jr.  20.5 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 4.1 apg
G Dorenzo Hudson, 6-5, 220       Jr. 14.4 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 2.0 apg

Feel free to follow my in game updates on Twitter. The game will be televised locally on ESPN2 and or Raycom.