Hey, remember the Miami Hurricanes? If you're a Syracuse Orange fan who started rooting for the school after 2003, you might not realize this but WE F***ING HATED THE MIAMI F***ING HURRICANES back in the day. Now we get to again. Fun!
It's time to get re-aquainted before the two squads square-off on Saturday. We asked Jerry over at State Of The U some questions about the team and the program. You'll find them below. So, you know, go read them. That's how this works, dummy. (Here's my answers to their questions, too).
This is more than just a basketball question, but, how are Miami fans feeling about the renewed "rivalry" with Syracuse?
Honestly, I don't think we will know until they face each other in football. Miami has a hardcore but somewhat small basketball following. Those of us who comprise it, know that playing the Cuse regularly in hoops is huge for recruiting, RPI, and so many other things. But your average Miami fan knows only of Donovan McNabb the all world QB, and not that he was briefly a back-up PG on the hoops team. Let's revisit this one in the fall.
Who's going to be the inevitable "random guy who inexplicably can't miss from beyond the three-point line" and single-handedly keeps Miami in the game?
Wow it could be anyone. Miami's best player this year is either 6'6 senior wing Rion Brown, who has gotten so much better at rebounding and finishing, but is struggling from deep, or 6'6 freshman Davon Reed. Reed, who is another wing, has been forced to run the point. He is mature ahead his years, but is more likely to beat you with his all-around game then lighting you up for 30. The most "random" guy who is a part of the rotation is Belgian freshman PG Manu Lecomte. Like all freshman guards, the diminutive LeComte has had his ups and downs. But he has a very nice shot. Maybe he gets hot this weekend.
The Orange big men are so-so at full-strength and they'll be playing short-handed. How can Miami take advantage of that?
Well over the past two games 7 foot sophomore Tonye Jekiri has surpassed his career high back-to-back outings. But the totals were 8 and 10 points respectively. If he somehow hits double figures again Canes fans would be thrilled. 6'9 Donnavan Kirk has been extremely solid all year, so maybe he can have a big game. 6'7 James Kelly is a stretch 4 who can also do some nice things, especially as a finisher.
How's this Jim Larranaga business working out for you guys?
Let's see, first ever ACC regular season and tournament championships... Yeah pretty good. This year is largely perceived as a rebuilding year. But Coach L and staff have stockpiled talent for the next couple of seasons that should make Miami a threat to repeat last year's success in the near future. Sheldon McClellan who led Texas in scoring last year, will be eligible next season. Ditto Angel Rodriguez, a second team all big 12 PG last year at K State. Deandre Burnett who averaged 35ppg as a HS senior, and would have been an All ACC freshman this year (he's that good) had he not broke his wrist in the preseason, will be a redshirt freshman sensation next year. Top 50 Philly PG JaQuan Newton and top 100 Texas PF Omar Sherman will also be in the mix. As talented as last season's squad was, next year's might even be deeper. Watch out folks. Yeah Canes fans are pretty happy with Larranaga.
Game prediction and how do you see the season shaping up for the Canes? Is this a tourney team?
NIT tourney would be a heck of an accomplishment. Look I don't want to sell these guys short, and they play very hard every time out for Coach L. But they are only really 7 deep, and the team is a mix of very young players and older players settling into expanded roles they have never previously had. They seem to have had some success lately with the 2-3 zone. But they don't exactly have the talent Syracuse has yet. Gaining experience for a huge run next year and surprising some ACC teams along the way seem like more realistic goals.
Cuse 64 - Miami 60. Ennis and Fair do just enough.
Keep an eye on State Of The U for more updates and info before the game.