The Atlantic Coast Conference announced today its conference basketball schedule for the 2012-13 season. For the first time in league history, member schools will play 18-game ACC schedules.
Our take: With two games a piece against UNC and Duke, The ‘Canes will have their work cut out for them. On the plus side, should they be a bubble team, this will afford them more opportunity to enhance their NCAA resume. In either case with key performers returning in Reggie Johnson, Kenny Kadji, and the return from injury of senior Julian Gamble up front, as well as swing men Trey McKinney-Jones & Rion Brown, combining with the backcourt of Durand Scott and Shane Larkin, there is no reason Miami shouldn’t be a top 3 ACC team this season.
The University of Miami basketball program has granted Melvin Johnson a release from his National Letter of Intent, effective immediately. With the full release, Johnson is permitted to enroll at any NCAA institution.
“We wish Melvin all the best in the future,” said UM head coach Jim Larranaga.
Melvin Johnson in action.
Our Take: This is a tremendous loss for the future, but not 2012. Chances are Johnson faced a redshirt season in 2012 with Miami having a crowded and talented backcourt featuring Durand Scott, Shane Larkin, Rion Brown, Trey McKinney-Jones, Garrius Adams, and Bishop Daniels. However Johnson could have been a big part of the 2013 team with all but Brown, Larkin, and Daniels set to graduate after this year. Johnson is an ESPN 100 player, a tremendous shooter, and an NYC style tough-minded player. We wish him well.
99 days until the Miami Hurricanes open up at Boston College, (Wednesday September 1, 3:30 PM EST on ABC/ESPN2) and we know you can’t wait!! The big questions remain who will be the starting QB and how well will he play, and which newcomers will have an immediate impact?? Can the pinpoint accuracy of Ryan Williams supplant the NFL ready arm of Stephen Morris?? Is there any chance Duke Johnson or Tracy Howard red shirt?? In just over 3 months we will all find out.
Stephen Morris can really launch it!
My early predictions: Morris earns the starting job, and Johnson and Howard crack the special teams’ lineups immediately. With Morris limiting the INTs and the young studs making the defense better, the ‘Canes will win 8-9 games. Anthony Chickillo at DE, Denzel Perryman at LB, and Brandon McGee and Ray Ray Amstrong in the secondary will give Miami stars at all 3 levels of the defense.
Here’s a little 2012 Pump-Up video courtesy of the YouTube Legend “Canefreak 2001″:
Next season could be a banner year for UM Basketball. Nearly everyone is returning to a squad that overcame numerous injuries, suspensions, and personal tragedy to finish one game short of an NCAA birth. In addition to the young players’ improvement (Shane Larkin & Rion Brown in particular) the focus for the ‘Canes this offseason has to be staying healthy (Reggie Johnson) and getting stronger (Kenny Kadji).
Very Early Prediction: Miami finishes top 3 in the ACC and makes a big run in the NCAA Tournament. Larkin will be an all defensive player, Kadji and Johnson will be the best frontcourt duo in the league, and Durand Scott will emerge as a clutch player by season’s end.
Here’s a look at some of the work former Miami Strength and Conditioning Coach Todor Pandov implemented with the ‘Canes hoops team.
(Editor’s note: Jim Krumpos has replaced Pandov, it was earlier reported erroneously that Pandov was still with UM)
Congratulations to the baseball team on upsetting # 6 UNC 5-3 on Thursday in the ACC Tournament. The #21 ‘Canes (35-20) appear primed to make some noise in the upcoming NCAA Tournament.
(Editor’s note: If there are any ‘Canes fans interested in covering baseball please contact us at email@example.com)
With that said, we hope everyone enjoys the long weekend.
After the disappointment of Selection Sunday and the terrible Tuesday of watching Iona blow a 25pt 2nd-half lead, we called on our Category 6 computer programmers to run a simulation. At first they resisted, despondent over What if Miami had been put in the play-in game instead of Iona? We also reverse simulated Durand Scott’s ridiculous suspension.
In the simulated play-in game, Miami took on BYU and came away with a virtually hard-fought 64-60 victory over the Cougars. The ‘Canes balanced attack was spearheaded by Trey McKinney Jones (12pts, 5reb, 1ast, 1stl).
After being cleared by the BSNCAA, Durand Scott (10pts, 7reb, 5ast, 1stl) struggled from the field but came up big on the glass and finding teammates for open looks. Scott drilled some big FT’s down the stretch to maintain Miami’s slim lead.
Kenny Kadji (11pts, 6reb, 1stl, 1blk) drilled his lone attempt from 3 and pinned Noah Hartsock against the glass on a big defensive possession. Malcolm Grant (9pts, 2reb, 2ast, 1stl) hit both his 3′s and DeQuan Jones (9pts, 5reb, 1) had a steal that led to a breakaway dunk.
Shane Larkin (5pts, 5reb, 4ast, 6stl) created chaos for BYU’s ball-handlers. Larkin picked Matt Carlino 3 times and finished one of those steals off with a spectacular lob to Rion Brown (6pts, 2reb, 1ast). Reggie Johnson (2pts, 6reb, 3ast) was double and triple-teamed when the ‘Canes tried to get it to him in the post. The attention paid to Reggie seemed to open up the deep ball for the ‘Canes. As a team Miami shot a sterling 9-17 (52.9%) from beyond the arc.
Rion Brown lead the way with 18 points as Miami overcame a slow start to dispose of Valparaiso 66-50 in the first round of the NIT. Ryan Broekhoff lead the way for Valpo with 18 points but on just 6-15 shooting. Reggie Johnson contributed 9 points 15 rebounds and 4 assists for the ‘Canes, and Shane Larkin continued his strong play with 12 points as well as an outstanding defensive game. Miami looked lethargic at times, building just a 24-23 first half lead. But the second half was all UM, as the ‘Canes used outstanding defense and hot shooting to cruise to the victory.
Rion Brown gave Valpo fits Wednesday night.
Player of the Game: Brown. When Rion Brown is at his best, the only way to describe him is “smooth.” Brown busted the Crusaders zone to the tune of 4-7 from downtown. At one point Brown displayed his superior athleticism by saving an offensive rebound to Trey McKinney Jones, who immediately kicked it right back to Brown. Before RB released the ball TMJ back pedaled down court arms raised with out a shadow of doubt the ball was going in. It was the kind of night for Rion Brown.
The Bad News: Durand Scott was re-instated by the NCAA, but must first serve a 6 game suspension. Counting tonight’s game he has served two, so the suspension effectively ends the season of arguably UM’s best player. The silver lining is that Larkin and Brown in particular have raised their games. But with out the NYC native Scott, Miami’s chances to reach the NIT semifinals at Madison Square Garden are significantly reduced.
What’s Next: Miami will face Minnesota (20-14) at the BUC, TBA. The Golden Gophers upset LaSalle 70-61 in their first round NIT match-up.
Amidst the disappointment of not being selected to the field of 68 and the continued uncertainty in the status of Durand Scott, Miami’s selection to the NIT feels almost anti-climatic. Adding to the angst is the fact the NIT decided the ‘Canes were only worthy of a #2 seed in the tourney, remarkable considering most pundits had UM as one of their last 4 out for the NCAA’s. But with the conspicuous timing of Scott’s suspension as well as the overwhelming feeling that Miami got screwed by the refs against FSU, unwelcome surprises seem to be a trend for UM. That being said ‘Cane fans can take solace in the face that the season continues and the careers of Malcolm Grant and DeQuan Jones have been extended.
The timing of Scott's ineligibility like his status remains a mystery.
For the full NIT bracket, click below(PDF reader required):
The Road Ahead: Until Scott’s status is settled, its difficult to forecast how well UM will do the NIT. The silver lining is Shane Larkin was spectacular in UM’s 2 ACC Tournament games (14.0 ppg 4.5 rpg, 4.0 apg, 2 stls). The team has faced incredible adversity all year long and responded. A trip to NYC and the NIT final four would be a poetic redemption for Brooklyn native Grant, and fellow NYC guard Scott, should he be cleared to play. Whatever the outcome of Miami’s next few games the team and the coaching staff deserve a ton of credit for remaining classy as they continue to be the most snake bitten team in the country.
After Valparaiso, they would face the winner of LaSalle – Minnesota, with a projected trip to Tennessee should they advance to the quarterfinals.
Wednesday game is at 7:30 PM EST at the BUC (ESPNU). Second round games are TBA.
Malcolm Grant & Miami return to action WED night in the NIT.
After receiving some bad news about Reggie Johnson’s eligibility and coming off a heart-crushing loss to Maryland, the ‘Canes were backed into a corner. The ‘Canes had lost 3 of their last 4 contests, including one to FSU. With an NCAA Tournament bid on the line, the ‘Canes played fast and furious in defeating the Seminoles 78-62.
The fans celebrated with the team after an emotional win over rival #15 FSU
When the season started, Miami struggled without Reggie Johnson. When Big Reg returned, the ‘Canes soared. DeQuan Jones’ return added more toughness and physicality. With Reggie suspended, Miami had to dig down deep. Put simply: the ‘Canes at the beginning of the year would have likely lost this game.
The team has improved tremendously over the course of the season. Sure, if the ‘Canes had lost to the ‘Noles at home tonight, the tone of this recap would have been completely different. The excuse would have likely been that Reggie wasn’t playing. And it would have been a good one, right? Reggie is a dynamic player who presents a match-up nightmare for nearly all his opponents – when he’s healthy. But the ‘Canes ability to win in this HUGE spot without him speaks volumes to how far this team has come.
The ‘Canes were down early as FSU got some easy baskets down low. With FSU leading 18-11, Hurricanes fans got nervous and the buzz in the BUC started to dissipate like electricity with no conductor. Then the ‘Canes went on a huge run and closed out the half with a slim 24-20 lead.
In the 2nd half, the ‘Canes got off to a fast start and shot the lights out of the BUC. As a team, Miami shot an eye-popping 60.9% from the field during the 2nd half. Miami appeared locked in on offense and consistently torched FSU’s vaunted defense. Down by 17, FSU’s Leonard Hamilton went to the Hack-A-’Cane strategy followed with a full court press. A few turnovers and some shaky FT shooting and FSU was able to cut the lead to 7 with 2:39 remaining. Shrugging off any bad memories of the previous game against Maryland, Miami refused to fold.
Durand Scott (17pts, 7reb, 2ast, 1stl) seemed to revel in the on-court celebration after the clock had expired. Kenny Kadji (15pts, 3reb, 5blk, 4stl) played a sterling game and was an absolute defensive beast. Trey McKinney Jones (11pts, 6reb) continued his great play with another strong effort. Shane Larkin (13pts, 2reb, 3ast) protected the ball and was money from the line at the end of the game. Rion Brown (9pts, 2reb, 1stl) produced a ton in only 13 minutes. DeQuan Jones (6pts, 4reb, 3ast, 1blk) was aggressive and his block in the 1st half seemed to spark the Miami run. Malcolm Grant (6pts, 1reb, 3ast) took care of the ball and hit a couple of big 3′s.
Player of the Game: This was a team effort with 4 players in double-digits in scoring and another with 9. If I have to give it to someone, it’s Durand Scott. Scott is the heart of this team. As he beats, so do the ‘Canes.
Defensive Player of the Game: Kenny Kadji. The team played great defense as a whole, but Kadji was spectacular with 5 blocks and 4 steals.
The Good: Beating FSU in a must-win game and really boosts Miami’s chances for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. At 8-6 in the ACC, Miami has a legitimate chance to cement a bid by winning out. If not, the ACC Tournament is another shot to add a few more notches. We’ll be covering the ACC Tournament from Atlanta and look for our ACC Tournament Survival Guide coming soon. If you’re going, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Bad: FSU fans were tailgating under the Metrorail. We’ve been trying to find out if this is legal. I asked a police officer on duty and he said “As long as they’re not burning any trees down, I don’t think it’s a problem.” We need to have a tailgate before the finale against Boston College. It’s a moral imperative.
The Ugly: Lots of maroon and gold in the crowd, but you didn’t hear that much of them as the game wore on. Last season after FSU beat Miami, they did that irritating tomahawk chant as they streamed merrily out of the BUC.