Tag: Miami (FL)

2018-2019 ACC Preview

Preseason Player of the Year:

R.J. Barrett, Duke

Preseason All-Conference Team:

R.J. Barrett, Duke

Tyus Battle, Syracuse

Luke Maye, North Carolina

Marcquise Reed, Clemson

Justin Robinson, Virginia Tech

Preseason Newcomer of the Year:

R.J. Barrett

Projected Order of Finish:

1. Duke

Coach K has another stacked squad featuring the top recruiting class in the county. R.J. Barrett leads that class along with internet sensation Zion Williamson. There is so much talent here, but not much depth or experience. There is also a question mark at the center position. I’d feel a lot better about putting Duke in the Kansas/Kentucky class if there were upperclassmen who could be trusted. However there is still plenty here to win Coach K his sixth national title.

2. Virginia

On a Friday night last March, Virginia let every other team that had ever been upset in the NCAA tournament off the hook by becoming the first No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 16 seed. That embarrassment has been a cloud hanging over the program all offseason. However, sophomore forward De’Andre Hunter missed that game and it would, at the very least, been a lot more competitive if he played. Tony Bennett remains one of the best coaches in college basketball and has Hunter along with juniors Ty Jerome and Kyle Guy returning with Alabama transfer Braxton Key immediately eligible. This is still a dangerous squad.

3. North Carolina

Ever since senior forward Luke Maye hit the game winning shot against Kentucky in the 2017 South Region Final, he’s become a household name nationally. The all-American candidate leads a Tarheel team that expects freshmen Nassir Little and Leaky Black to make instant impacts. Coach Roy Williams is going to have to learn to live life without Joel Berry and Theo Pinson, but with those three along with seniors Kenny Williams and Cam Johnson, he has plenty to work with this season.

4. Syracuse

Remember when Syracuse was in trouble with the NCAA and they had a plan for head coach Jim Boeheim to transition from coaching? Me neither. Boeheim has a really good team on his hands led by junior guard Tyus Battle. The all-league candidate leads a team that also returns sophomore forward Oshae Brissett and senior guard Frank Howard. The Orange has been living life on the bubble recently, but that shouldn’t be an issue this season.

5. Clemson

No one thought head coach Brad Brownell would even make it to coach last season’s team let alone make the sweet 16. However, that’s exactly what happened and the Tigers are primed to make a return trip to the Big Dance this season. Senior all-conference candidate Marcquise Reed leeds an experienced team that also features fellow seniors Sheldon Mitchell and Elijah Thomas. Freshman John Newman III is expected to help offset the losses of Gabe Devoe and Donte Grantham.

6. Virginia Tech

Buzz Williams really talented core returns lead by senior guard Justin Robinson and junior forward Kerry Blackshear, Jr. Senior Ahmed Hill and sophomore Nickeil Alexander-Walk are also expected to be key components. The biggest question is when senior forward Chris Clarke will return from suspension. Whenever, it will be, there should still be enough to get the Hokies back to the Big Dance.

7. Miami

With Bruce Brown and Lonnie Walker in the NBA, coach Jim Larranaga is going to have to find pieces to replace their production. The pieces he’s most likely to turn to are in his backcourt with sophomore Chris Lykes, junior Dejan Vasiljevic, senior Anthony Lawrence II and grad transfer Zach Johnson. Expect the Hurricanes to continue to be one of the toughest outs in the league.

8. Florida St

Another NCAA tournament season turned into a surprising tournament run for the Seminoles as they came withing a game of the Final Four. C.J. Walker transferring leaves a question mark at the lead guard, but head coach Leonard Hamilton will use a lot of people anyway. Seniors Phil Cofer and Terance Mann will lead this Seminole club with junior Trent Forrest also being key cog in the backcourt. Freshman Anthony Polite’s health will be a key concern for the Seminoles. Expect senior David Nichols to contribute as well.

9. NC State

No one expected NC State to make the NCAA tournament in head coach Kevin Keatts’ first season at the helm. This season may be a little tougher with Al Freeman, Leonard Freeman and Omer Yurtseven all out of the program and freshman Manny Bates injured to start the year. Sophomore Braxton Beverly and senior Torin Dorn will have to step up. Transfers Blake Harris and C.J. Bryce will be important as well.

10. Boston College

The Eagles are a Jerome Robinson return from being a sure-fire tournament team. That’s still not out of the realm of possibility though. Juniors Ky Bowman and Nik Popovic return along with senior Jordan Chatman to try to replace Robinson’s production. Freshmen Jairus Hamilton and Wynston Tabbs could become key contributors as well.

11. Louisville

Not many programs dealt with more upheaval than this one last season as the Cardinals played with an interim coach. They’re now led by Chris Mack, a coach many say is one of the best in the country. He’ll have plenty to repace as Quentin Snider, Deng Adel and Raymond Spalding are all gone. Akoy Agau transfers back into the program with Khwon Fore, Steven Enoch and Christen Cunningham to provide instant relief. However the success of the season most likely rests squarely on the junior forward V.J. King’s development.

12. Notre Dame

Bonzi Colson’s early season injury put a damper on the Irish’s entire season, and it still almost made the tournament. He along with Martinas Geben and Matt Farrell will be difficult to replace. Complicating things is sophomore forward D.J. Harvey’s health. He’ll need to be ready to help junior guard Temple Gibbs. Freshman Prentiss Hubb has a bright future for Notre Dame, but will be thrown to the fire early. Could be a rebuilding year in South Bend.

13. Georgia Tech

Josh Pastner’s first year almost saw the Yellow Jackets sneak their way into the NCAA tournament. Last year was a totally different story. NCAA violations, false claims against Pastner, and an embarrassing home loss to Grambling and he is squarely on the hot seat. With Josh Okogie, Ben Lammers and Tadric Jackson have moved on so Pastner will lean on his guards, junior Shembari Phillips, junior Jose Alvarado and freshman Michael Devoe. Shaping up to be a long year.

14. Wake Forest

Speaking of hot seats, Danny Manning’s is warm in Winston-Salem. Bryant Crawford and Doral Moore did him no favors by leaving school early. His team lacks the talent right now to compete in the ACC. If it weren’t for Pitt having to replace just about its entire roster this would be the worst team in the league. It could get ugly in the Triad.

15. Pittsburgh

Not many coaches had a more disastrous run than Kevin Stallings at Pitt. That’s why Jeff Capel is now the coach. The Panthers are going to rely on transfers and freshmen entirely in a situation that is going to take some time to turn around. Freshman Xavier Johnson will be a good player down the road. Capel has his work cut out for him.

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Hurricane Larranaga

Miami head coach Jim Larranaga has his team rolling towards an ACC title

You didn’t see it coming.  I didn’t see it coming.  They didn’t see it coming.  One team is taking the college basketball world by storm this season and it’s the Miami Hurricanes.

After fighting through some early season injuries that left unfavorable results, the Hurricanes have run roughshod over the ACC.  They’ve beaten both North Carolina and Duke by more than 20 at home and went to Raleigh to steal a road victory over NC State.

In an era of all-world freshmen, the key to Miami’s success is its age.  Miami is one of the most experienced teams in the ACC and you can see it with the way its being physical with its foes.

Every once a while a team pops up out of nowhere to have a special season a la Saint Josephs in 2004 and Auburn in 1999.  This could be one of those seasons for the ‘Canes.

Stock Up: The Atlantic 10.  The additions of Butler and VCU to the conference are paying instant dividends as the quality of the A-10 rivals most power six conference.  The league could legitimately send 5 or 6 teams to the Big Dance and some of those teams would be real threats to make it to the second weekend.

Stock Down: Colonial Athletic Association. Yikes.  What a difference a year makes.  This was a league you could rely on to possibly send two teams to the NCAA tournament.  Not this year.  The conference champion would do well to get a No. 14 seed in the tournament.

Stock Up: Louisiana Tech.  The Bulldogs haven’t lost a game since December 12 and is coasting through the WAC right now.  At 21-3, they’ve already dispatched Denver, New Mexico St, and Utah St, their chief rivals once and have return meetings set up.  Those three games are the only thing keeping me from declaring that race completely over.

Stock Down: The NCAA.  Collegiate athletics is taking so many L’s these days it’s not even funny.  From the way the organization handled the Myck Kabongo situation to the way it handled the Shabazz Muhammad situation, there’s no consistency and what seems to be selective enforcement.  At a time where colleges are grabbing more power for themselves the NCAA needs to stop self inflicting wounds.

On to the bracket.

Last Four In: North Carolina, Arizona St, Baylor, Temple

Last Four Out: Stanford, Alabama, St. John’s, California

This bracket is good for games played through 2/10

MIDWEST

1.Indiana16.Charleston Southern/Norfolk St Dayton, OH

8.San Diego St9.Colorado

5.Marquette12.Belmont Kansas City

4.Kansas13.Middle Tennessee

6.Kentucky11.Indiana St Salt Lake City

3.Arizona14.Davidson

7.NC State10.Saint Louis Philadelphia

2.Syracuse15.Florida Gulf Coast

WEST

1.Michigan16.Northeastern Auburn Hills, MI

8.UCLA9.Wichita St

5.Oklahoma St12.Temple/North Carolina   Austin

4.Louisville13.Lehigh

6.Cincinnati11.La Salle  Salt Lake City

3.New Mexico14.Valparaiso

7.Minnesota10.Oklahoma San Jose

2.Gonzaga15.Montana

EAST

1.Duke16.Bryant Philadelphia

8.Missouri9.Creighton

5.Wisconsin12.Baylor/Arizona St  San Jose

4.Pittsburgh13.Stephen F. Austin

6.Oregon11.Mississippi Dayton, OH

3.Butler14.Vermont

7.Notre Dame10.Iowa St Auburn Hills, MI

2.Michigan St15.Long Beach St

SOUTH

1.Miami(FL)16.Niagara/Southern  Lexington, KY

8.Memphis9UNLV

5.Ohio St12.Louisiana Tech  Austin

4.Georgetown13.Akron

6.Colorado St11.Virginia Kansas City

3.Kansas St14.Harvard

7.VCU10.Illinois Lexington, KY

2.Florida15.Western Illinois

In graphical form

Bubble Boys

Ethan Hyman -Raleigh & Observer Former Wolfpack basketball players Tom Gugliotta, center, and Chris Corchiani, center right, are removed from the stands with 6 minutes, 40 seconds left in N.C. State's 76-62 loss to Florida State on Saturday.

Today we’re going to examine the resumes of several teams on the bubble.  Central Florida, Colorado St, Connecticut, Loyola Marymount, Miami(FL), NC State, Northwestern, Seton Hall, St. Joseph’s, Texas, Washington, Xavier

Central Florida

RPI: 56

Record: 19-7 (8-4 Conference-USA)

Key Wins: Connecticut, Memphis

Key Losses: Louisiana-Lafayette, Tulsa

Outlook: UCF is just 2-4 against Memphis, Southern Miss, Tulsa and Marshall – the other top teams in Conference USA.  Still has a road game at Memphis but will probably need to get to at-least the Conference USA title game to feel good about their chances.

Colorado St

RPI: 29

Record: 16-9 (5-5 Mountain West)

Key Wins: Colorado, Denver, Wyoming, San Diego St

Key Losses: TCU, Boise St

Outlook: The Rams still have a road game at San Diego St sandwiched between home games against New Mexico and UNLV so the opportunity to make a jump is there.  It’ll be difficult, but if the Rams can go 3-1 in their last four and get to the semi-finals of the Mountain West tournament then that will probably be enough for a bid.

Connecticut

RPI: 24

Record: 16-10 (6-8 Big East)

Key Wins: Florida St, Harvard, West Virginia, Notre Dame, Seton Hall

Key Losses: Rutgers, Tennessee

Outlook: The Huskies will have one of the top two or three strength of schedules in the country.  Despite the issue that have plagued them, they have a favorable schedule down the stretch.  A split in their last four and a visit to the quarters will get them to the Big Dance.

Loyola Marymount

RPI: 86

Record: 18-10 (10-4 West Coast)

Key Wins: Saint Louis, BYU, Saint Mary’s

Key Losses: Columbia, North Texas, Morgan St

Outlook: The Lions’ wins over Saint Louis, BYU and Saint Mary’s are better than any wins many of the teams on this list will have.  Those losses to Columbia, North Texas and Morgan St give severe pause though.  May have to win the West Coast Conference tournament to get in, if they get to final they’ll be seriously considered.

Miami (FL)

RPI: 44

Record: 16-9 (7-5 ACC)

Key Wins: Massachusetts, Duke

Key Losses: None

Outlook: Miami has just one quality win, but a win in Cameron carries a lot of weight.  The Hurricanes have a pretty solid strength of schedule, but are just 1-6 against the top 50.  They go to Maryland followed by a home game against Florida St and a road game at NC State.  Their margin of error is extremely slim.

NC State

RPI: 59

Record: 18-9 (7-5 ACC)

Key Wins: Texas, Miami (FL)

Key Losses: Stanford, Georgia Tech

Outlook: NC State had the worst week ever last week.  The Wolfpack lost a game it had won at Duke and then lost at home to Florida St where two of it’s legends were kicked out of the arena.  Win those two games and they’re not even on this list.  NC State has North Carolina and Miami at home coming up.  The opportunity to solidify a tournament berth is still available.

Northwestern

RPI: 37

Record: 16-10 (6-8 Big Ten)

Key Wins: LSU, Seton Hall, Michigan St, Illinois, Minnesota

Key Losses: None

Outlook: The Wildcats have never gone to the NCAA tournament before, but that all can change this season.  They have Michigan and Ohio St at home along with trips to Penn St and Iowa.  4-0 definitely, 3-1 probably, 2-2 and they better get to the Big Ten tournament semifinals.

Seton Hall

RPI: 34

Record: 18-9 (7-8)

Key Wins: Virginia Commonwealth, Dayton, West Virginia, Connecticut, Pittsburgh

Key Losses: Villanova

Outlook: Solid Strength of schedule, but still has a lot of work to do.  The Pirates have Georgetown at home this week and that will go a long way.  Remaining games versus Rutgers and Depaul are more can’t lose than must wins.  If Seton Hall goes 2-1, one of those two needs to be against Georgetown.

St. Joseph’s

RPI: 46

Record: 18-10 (8-5 Atlantic-10)

Key Wins: Drexel, Creighton, Duquesne, Dayton, LaSalle, Massachusetts

Key Losses: American, Charlotte, Penn

Outlook: The Hawks are benefitting from a weak bubble.  They’re currently 0-3 against Temple, Saint Louis and Xavier, which makes their game against Temple on Saturday uber-important.  They lose that game and they’re probably looking at winning the Atlantic-10 tournament to get in.

Texas

RPI: 51

Record: 17-10 (7-7 Big 12)

Key Wins: Temple, Oklahoma St, Iowa St, Kansas St

Key Losses: Oregon St

Outlook: The Longhorns host Baylor tonight and close the season at Kansas.  They have four games remaining and I thing going 3-1 in those games will get them in.  Under no circumstances can they lose to Texas Tech or Oklahoma.

Washington

RPI: 57

Record: 19-8 (12-3 Pac-12)

Key Wins: Oregon, Arizona (2)

Key Losses: None

Outlook: Washington is going to  have to finish at least tied for the Pac-12 regular season title and make it to the championship game to get an at-large berth.  Whether the committee wants to admit it or not; winning the regular season title of a power six conference carries weight.

Xavier

RPI: 54

Record: 17-9 (8-4 Atlantic-10)

Key Wins: Vanderbilt, Purdue, Cincinnati, Duquesne, St. Josephs, Dayton

Key Losses: Hawaii

Outlook: While the Musketeers haven’t been playing as well as they had been before the brawl, they still have the same roster.  That means this team is still capable of winning big games.  One of the best resumes on this list and may have a larger margin for error than other team seen here.  Still, I’d go 3-1 down the stretch if I were Xavier.

This Week’s Bracket Projections:

Last Four In: St. Josephs, Connecticut, Miami (FL), Seton Hall
Last Four Out: UCF, NC State, Colorado St, Illinois

Good for games through of 2/19

SOUTH

1.Kentucky16.Vermont/Savannah St Louisville

8.Virginia9.St. Mary’s

5.Louisville12.Northwestern Albuquerque

4.Baylor13.Oral Roberts

6.UNLV11.Mississippi St Columbus

3.Georgetown14.Davidson

7.Creighton10.Memphis Pittsburgh

2.Ohio St15.Belmont

WEST

1.Duke16.UNC-Asheville/Mississippi Valley St Greensboro

8.Saint Louis9.Harvard

5.Wisconsin12.Texas Albuquerque

4.Notre Dame13.Drexel

6.Indiana11.Seton Hall/Miami(FL) Nashville

3.Florida14.Middle Tennessee St

7.California10.Southern Mississippi Omaha

2.Kansas15.Long Island

MIDWEST

1.Missouri16.Bucknell Omaha

8.West Virginia9.Purdue

5.Florida St12.Washington Nashville

4.Temple13.Iona

6.Gonzaga11.Alabama Portland

3.Marquette14.Nevada

7.San Diego St10.Iowa St Columbus

2.Michigan St15.Valparaiso

EAST

1.Syracuse16.UT-Arlington Pittsburgh

8.Kansas St9.BYU

5.New Mexico12.Long Beach St Portland

4.Wichita St13.Connecticut/St. Josephs

6.Vanderbilt11.Xavier  Louisville

3.Michigan14.Akron

7.Murray St10.Cincinnati Greensboro

2.North Carolina15.Weber St

In Graphical Form