Home » Columns » Currently Reading:

Miami could make moves in the ACC

January 30, 2012 Columns No Comments
miami

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Miami couldn’t seem to shake Boston College no matter what they did. They led often, but the game was played within a ten-point window even as the Hurricanes were doing a better job of defending the young Eagles as the game wore on. Suddenly, with the game tied at 49, all that changed, as the Hurricanes went on a 14-0 run and turned what was a close game into a 76-54 rout. It all went right with what head coach Jim Larranaga has preached to this team.

“I thought our guys stayed very poised,” said Larranaga, currently in his first season at the school. “Early in the season, we tended to go our own way and tried to do it on our own. Tonight, I thought we stuck with some things and were able to fight through it, and our defense got better as the game progressed. They were at 49 for a long time.”

In fact, Boston College went over three minutes without scoring, and never got another field goal. They shot 35 percent in the second half after shooting over 42 percent in the first half, and turnovers were once again a problem. In the meantime, Miami turned the ball over just five times on the afternoon, the second straight game with a single digit figure in that column.

Miami was a mixed bag early in the season. They won their first four games, then lost four of the next five in part from playing tougher opponents and having to go on the road a few times. At 5-4, they got back big man Reggie Johnson, who suffered a knee injury last summer, and he has certainly made a difference.

“Reggie’s made a huge difference for a number of different reasons,” said Larranaga.

Johnson hasn’t been a dominant force at either end of the floor, nor has he posted eye-popping numbers. But since he has returned, a lot of the Hurricanes have benefited. Alongside him, Kenny Kadji is perhaps the biggest beneficiary, averaging 17.1 points and 6.6 rebounds per game since Johnson’s return. Larranaga noted that Johnson now guards the biggest opponent, which allows Kadji more freedom at both ends. On the perimeter, Durand Scott and Rion Brown have seen their percentages make a big jump, with Scott shooting just over 30 percent before his return and over 51 percent since.

Most of all, the team has benefited as they are 7-3, and have gone from being out-rebounded to out-rebounding opponents. Johnson isn’t all the way back physically as of yet. While he’s healthy, he’s still not in the kind of game shape most players are by this season, and he wasn’t in the best shape even before the injury. But the effect his return has had is clear.

Another player who has helped others is freshman point guard Shane Larkin. The son of baseball Hall of Fame shortstop Barry Larkin, he has moved into the starting lineup and made life easier for Scott and Malcolm Grant. Larkin is a good defender as well, and putting him alongside Scott and Grant gives them three ball handlers to start the game. Scott admirably played the point for a lot of his first two years for a guy who isn’t natural at the position, but Larranaga likes making his and Grant’s life easier.

“Quite frankly, ball handling wears you out,” said Larranaga. “Having three ball handlers sharing the ball, sharing the responsibility, definitely helps.”

“We really don’t go by positions. We just go out there and try to play,” said Scott, who had 19 points, six rebounds and four assists on Sunday. “Coach knows what’s best, he put him at the point for a reason, and I trust him putting him at the point and me at the 2. The last couple of games, we got wins, so how can I complain about that?”

There’s a lot of room to maneuver in the ACC aside from what appears to be a clear top four teams. Based on play thus far, the top four looks to be some combination of Duke, Florida State, North Carolina and Virginia. After that, though, there’s a drop-off, and places 5-12 in the standings could go a number of ways. In the mix are teams like Clemson, Maryland, Miami, NC State and Virginia Tech. All of those teams have things to like about them, but none will bowl you over. Based on how Miami has played since Johnson’s return, they would be as good a pick to get into the top half as anyone.

Of the Hurricanes’ remaining 10 ACC contests, six are at home. That’s a plus, and of the four teams that project to be at the top, they have as many games on the road against them as at home (two each). If they continue to buy into the ideas of defense and taking care of the ball, Sunday’s decisive run may turn out to be a microcosm of the season. They certainly have the personnel with which to do that.

Comment on this Article:







Avery Bradley Skills Academy

August 11-13, 2014 at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center.

More information is available by clicking here.

Coaching Changes and NBA Draft Early Entrants

The coaching carousel is moving. Keep track of the latest coaching changes right here on Hoopville.

Also, keep track of players who have declared early for the NBA Draft.

Advertisement


Your Phil of Hoops

Watson’s transfer will sting BU the most

April 11, 2014 by

bostonuniversity

Boston University recently saw three players transfer. The impact of the departure of one of them will be felt more than the other two.

Mihalich’s first year at Hofstra is over but will have plenty of value

March 9, 2014 by

hofstra

The first year for Hofstra under Joe Mihalich is in the books. Many expected that wins would be hard to come by, and they were, but this season was about more than that and is hardly a throwaway year.

Cornell’s future can only be better

March 2, 2014 by

cornell

Cornell has had a rough season, as could be expected given some personnel losses. It’s almost in the books, and the future at least looks brighter.

Hoopville Archives

Even More: City Hoops Recruiting

Mass Elite and Boston Warriors hold college showcase

Mass Elite and Boston Warriors, two of the largest programs in Massachusetts, teamed up for a college showcase on Wednesday night. Here are some evaluations from that event.

Massachusetts 11th grade AAU Tournament recap

Teams gathered at Mass Premier Courts to chase the state title in the oldest age group, and one champion was a familiar one.

Travel team profile: All For One

All For One has been one of the better travel programs in Massachusetts for players before they reach high school

Travel team profile: Blackstone Valley Chaos

Size and options on the wing are not lacking for this year’s junior team

Travel team profile: Expressions Elite

Expressions Elite has quickly become one of the deeper programs in New England

Conference Coverage

2013-14 Big Ten Post-Mortem

July 8, 2014 by

bigten

The Big Ten had some teams slip as the season went on, but plenty of others picked up the slack in another good year for the conference.

2013-14 Sun Belt Post-Mortem

July 7, 2014 by

sunbelt

Membership changes have been happening at quite a pace of late in the Sun Belt, and it was a new member that stole the show for much of this past season and seems poised to lead the way in the future.

2013-14 Big Sky Post-Mortem

July 1, 2014 by

bigsky

The teams that have led the way in the Big Sky of late were right there again this season. One of them won both the regular season and conference tournament, and also had a nice time with the post-season awards as well.

2013-14 MEAC Post-Mortem

July 1, 2014 by

meac

The 2013-14 season was N.C. Central’s year in the MEAC, as the Eagles completed their four-year ascent to the top of conference.

2013-14 Big 12 Post-Mortem

June 30, 2014 by

big12

When it comes to overall depth, the Big 12 this season may have been one of the strongest leagues in a long time. The conference sent seven of its 10 teams to the NCAA Tournament, the first time in 21 years and just the fifth time ever that a league sent 70% or more of its teams to the tourney.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter