It wasn't too long ago that the Miami Hurricanes were giving the Syracuse Orange a run for their money on the basketball court. The Orange survived, but now they head to Florida to see if they can do it again. Before they do, we turn to Miami blog State Of The U for some updates and answers.
You know the ACC better than us. What's going on this year? Is it truly a drop-off or just an anomaly of sorts?
Some of the older members of the conference who are typically perennial contenders are in the midst of rebuilding. This includes NC State, UNC (surprisingly), and Maryland (soon to be of the B1G). UNC was expected to be better, but they have clearly struggled with the loss of their best player in PJ Hairston. Ditto Notre Dame and Jerian Grant. It's also been well documented how much Miami lost from last season's ACC Championship team.
I think the conference being "down" is more the result of circumstance then a budding trend and aslo a bit exaggerated. Have you seen the class Duke has coming in next year? And yeah, their demise might be a bit premature this year, although I feel they are short a big man to contend for a Final 4. Watch out for FSU as well. Also Pittsburgh and Syracuse look pretty good. Adding two teams that complete, will certainly make for a more competitive conference, and in this case knock everyone else down a notch.
What went wrong in the Duke loss?
Where to start? In the first half Miami turned the ball over 8 times and allowed 10 offensive boards. You can not do that against Duke and expect to win or even compete. Coach L mentioned in the post game that the team seemed in "awe" of the moment. In case you had not heard, Kobe, LBJ, and DWade were in the audience. The team did not exactly thrive in that atmosphere, the way last season's squad did.
Miami really put a scare into Syracuse the first time around. What did you guys learn from that game and how do you expect Jim Larranaga to change this time?
What Miami learned was that you really need to play well down the stretch to beat a team like Syracuse. I do not expect UM to change much if anything. Their only chance they have to win, is to slow the game down and play fantastic D in their match-up zone. The one difference is that they will have to make a few more shots. Freshman PG Manu LeComte is the guy I think needs to step up and knock down a few deep ones.
Garrius Adams led Miami with 9 points in that game. He hoisted seven 3-point attempts, making three. Can we expect something similar?
Miami fans and coaches probably hope not. Adams is a pretty good passer, and is a much better player when he takes the ball to the basket. Hoisting threes late in the shot clock is one thing, but to do so early on is not the formula for success for Miami. Rion Brown and Donnavan Kirk are the Canes most consistent scorers, and will need to put points on the board if UM has a chance.
We've been told this game is being promoted as a "pajama party." What? Why?
I know the Duke game was 90's night. I hate to give such a dry response, but honestly I have no idea why the unconventional promotions. Maybe when they play lesser opponents it makes sense. Against Duke and the Cuse, I would hope the marquee names on the uniforms and legendary coaches would be enough.
I pretty much nailed the first game, predicting a close Miami loss. In the spirit of that prediction I am going to go out on a wider limb and say Miami does the impossible and wins 52-48. I think Syracuse might be looking ahead to Duke next week. Plus the Orange have won a plethora of close games, and typically if you play enough close ones you are bound to catch some bad breaks and lose one eventually.
Keep an eye on State of the U for more info.