#98 R.P.I. Virginia Tech @ #44 R.P.I. Miami:
Virginia Tech men’s basketball is 8-points removed from being perfect since latent January as we draw nigh to March Madness itself.
The Hokies now close the docket on February business per a 9o9-mile sojourn South-by-only-slightly-So-East to face the Miami Hurricanes. Da U enters this one at a shiny-looking 2o up against 8 down. While checking in at 12-5 in All Championship Conference play. Good for 3rd-place and only 1 game outta 2nd and then another only 1-game outta 1st after that! As this one is a pretty significant one for these two orange-clad teams. Nonetheless, what you wanna know is… who is gonna win and by how much, rights? So, read on… to finds, out!
Miami Head Coach: James Joseph Larrañaga: Age=72, 69o–472 (.594) overall, and
22o–138 (.615) at Miami.
$1,300,000.oo base (w/ $700k for retention); i.e., pretty much a steal at this level.
6′3″ baller Larrañaga came up in the hard-hitting Bronx ‘hood of N.Y.C, as one of six children; Larrañaga attended Archbishop Molloy High School in Queens, where he starred under Coach Jack Curran, graduating in 1967. He went on to play basketball at Providence College. He was the basketball team captain as a senior in 1971, leading Providence College to a 2o–8 record and an N.I.T. birth. He graduated as the school’s 5th all-time leading scorer with 1,258 points and was the team’s top scorer as a sophomore and junior, being named New England’s Division I Sophomore of the Year in 1969. After Providence, baller Larrañaga was 5th round of the 1971 N.b.a. Draft by the Detroit Pistons. However, baller Larrañaga never sought an NBA career, tho’ he did ball overseas for Geronemo Basketball Club (Belgium), 1976; then he opted instead to go into coaching. Jim’s grandfather was born in Cuba of Basque parents and was part of the Por Larrañaga cigar company in that country.
Coach Larrañaga prior to his time at Miami, he served as head coach at Bowling Green (1986-1997) and more notably at George Mason University (1997-2011), where he coached the Patriots to 13 consecutive winning seasons and became a media sensation during the Patriots’ improbable run to the Final-4 in 2006. Coach Larrañaga has ten conference titles to his claim and he won four different National Coach of the Year awards in 2o13) to pair with one other in 2oo6, and five conference Coach of the Year awards -from three conferences (A.c.c., C.A.A., and M.A.C.) along the way. Coach Larrañaga is a man who reads books by the Dalai Lama, quotes Confucius, Aristotle and Ralph Waldo Emerson in the locker room, starts practices by giving players a “Thought of the Day” and uses quotes and themes from movies such as “Drumline” and “You Got Served” for his pregame speeches. He has a butterfly release program for his baller’s each pre-season and is a quiet and highly mercurial sort. He is known for being meticulous -he carries his very own: 1o8-page coaching guide compiled from years of taking notes- and industrious in his approach to hard-nosed defense and rebounding, with a slashing attacking O on-court. Coach Larrañaga took Sun Tzu’s Art of War apart and re-wrote it for basketball purposes, turning it into what he calls “The Art of War for hoops. WOW, and far out, alike!
Professor Larrañaga was appointed as an associate professor in the George Mason School of Management (2oo6); specifically, in the school’s Executive M.B.A. program. Although his basketball schedule only allows him to teach part-time, he is a frequent presenter in classes on leadership, management, and team development, and also often speaks at Management School sponsored seminars. He had been a guest lecturer in the field of Management since arriving at Mason in 1997.
There were i-net whispers that Larrañaga is “coach-3” in the college basketball corruption probe earlier last year (per: USA Today).
And as much as I do like Professor-J, this seemed to be twilight coach folks… as his last winning season was 2o18. (And yet 2o22 wants a word -thus far- with dat).
Daddy Larrañaga is married to Liz’ and they have two sons and four grandchildren. Their son Jay played for his father at Bowling Green, was the head coach of the NBDL’s Erie Bayhawks,
and his now the top assistant coach with the Boston Celtics. Jon was a member
of his father’s George Mason teams from 1999-2003, earning first-team
academic all-American honors for NCAA Division I-AA school
Miami at a glance:
- 15th in Turnover Margin!! (Now: up to 15th, wow! ⇔, tho’ only 5-spots of a delta).
- 40th most FT-makes! (Gets to the FT-line, a lot). (⇔ nearly the same…)
- 43rd most Swipes/game! (Now: 25th or even mo’ 5-finger discounts; ⇑, here)!
- unlisted before… 52nd in FTA’s is 15′-set-shot near… money!
- 63rd in FG-percentage O. (No2: 36th craftiest shooting-team, ⇑, quality)!!
- 291st in FG-percentage D allow! (Now: even worse at 314th best, ⇓, or bad to worse here)!!!
- 328th best in Rebounding Margin!!! (299th on D-glass and 326th on O-glass; w0w!) (Now: 315th best in Rebounding Margin!!! (⇔, little better tho’ still very poor on the whole).
- 2 hurts listed… Coach God twice bless! (And He did, at least once…)
- READERS OBSERVE: …trending things Eye saw… mo’ below…
- Pretty decent backcourt team… with incredible 1 through 3/Wing hands! 31st to 5th best nationwide in every metric that involves backcourt: hands, handles, or the ilk. Never seen this before; either!?!
- VERY Coach Jimi Hendrix or highly seasoned hoops club.
- Did Eye mention the; experience, yets?
- 8-deep backcourt rotation! wow^8th.
- See: below…
- One #23, Oklahoma transfer, Kameron McGusty is a pretty useful looking 6′5″, 19o lb., r-6th-Sr. off-G by way of Katy, Tx. He of 11.6 ppg, 2.1 apg, 1.2 spg, and 3 rpg last year. Now up smartly to: 17.8 ppg, with 5.1 rpg, 2.5 apg, and 1.8 spg this year! Half-decade into collegiate hoops+1 and that’s pretty much code for garnering some A.c.c. Most Improve voting in my book. Prolly code for outright roofing itself too; as there won’t be much headroom remaining here. McGusty has some scoring gusto indeed… 47.3% overall, on 83% free-throwing and 36.9% long-range and formerly being ranked as the no. 46 prospect, including the No. 10 Shooting Guard, by ESPN says so. As does Kameron’s sporting-family tree which blossoms roundballs this time of year. McGusty is whispered to have snubbed V.Tech who (seemed) to have a fair-to-middling shot at him at the last minute. As this kid was a 40% boomer-bomber from deep for OK-U. So, he can make it rain from 3-point-land once he gets it going— (although when studying his game-log, I was left wondering if this is the rarefied Michael Cooper kinda kid who is more comfortable in relief as a highly-coveted 6th-man type role? As his 3-pointer digits have noticeably regressed per starting minutes in progress). Does have a jacket with a med.label that reads: right ‘leg-injury’ that has sat him for several games each year; St.Nikon bless! Is however one of the Top-3 or so ballers on the court most nites when he logs in leg-free and at or near 100% downstairs. Which is only 85-90% of the time historically. Or something of a Sex Panther playar… 60% of the time he is southern hemisphere weapons-free every time. Momma-bear is a talent acquisition manager… and you can go there if you wanna… me? Not poking da she-bear(s) here(s). Kam’ gets to the FT-line, a lot. Penetrating/slashing Off-G or Wingman of sorts. Has been a bit mo’ consistent of late… seems to stay within himself on O better this year than before as well. PROPS on dat and on getting his 2nd-full u.Grad’ diploma this upcoming spring commencement from Da.U.edu. (UPDATE: …not much-moved pro or con here, remarkably durable/consistent guy, other than 3-pointing which is up 3%, slightest possible ⇑ just for dat).
- (ONLY Lindy’s pre-season All-A.c.c. honoree, 3rd-string): Isaiah Wong (now) only Wangs Miami’s Chung… what with being the gold-medal scorer at 17.3 ppg and a nifty looking 5.4 rpg to top-shelf all of that. Or he did. This year he is close enuff, with: 15.1 ppg with 4.3 rpg on 2 apg and 1 spg. This Wong goes 6′3″, 185 lbs., as a twice-r-Soph breakout Two or off-G. Isaiah was the 78th Rivals kid nationally two years back and Wong’sanity may or may not be sweeping So.Beach as I type. That said, he went to the same H.S. as 1973 Heisman Trophy winner John Cappelletti; so, there is that. And he was something of an outburst scholastic scorer in/around Philly then over in Jersey. “Zay” as he likes to be called… is living at the charity stripe and he lives okay enuff there at 72.8%. Lindy’s calls this kid a: “dynamic scorer” and thus far 2022 is calling that bet square enough. As Wong did have a histrionic of late-game scholastic heroics, he was said to be a ‘breakout’ scorer by several other mag’s and if/when he lengthens his range and tickles the twine fo’ mo’ than 28.9% long? Look out! As this kid can put the mid to short-range biscuit in the basket. Has added a little bit of right-mass or sinew since we saw him last… (needed it too). A bit streaky this Wong… tho’ streaking hotter of late by-the-bye. Could prolly put in 31st.Oct. has Will Smith costume party lookalike work if he wanted it as well. (UPDATE: this Wong be flaccid, and not only of late… he’s down nearly everywhere over the last 3-years! God Bless, ⇓, here).
- Former reservist and New Zealander Sam Waardenburg was done for the duration with a ‘substantial’ left-foot injury last time we checked. St.Sebastian help! As the 6′10″, 225 lb., 6th-r-Sr. year Kiwi was only Miami’s leading rebounder two yarns ago. This year he is getting you: 8.5 ppg with 3.1 rpg on 1.8 apg and leads the way with 1.2 bpg to boot. 53.4% from the floor and a marksmanship looking 45.3% from deep almost give the likable Sammy a Point-F or Euro’ stretch-F look-n-feel. Auckland, New Zealand imported Four from Rangitoto College (which is code for: high school from some of them). Does field 1 mo’ SAS Secondary Schools National Championship bling than you and I do combined. So that does not suck. Neither does keeping-it-real and representing New Zealand in the various FIBA tourneys overseas. Lotta international experience(s) live here. For all of that… Mr. Waardenburg was only named: Named the most outstanding player at both the Nike All Asia Camp in Beijing and the Basketball Without Borders Camp in Australia. That has to count, rights? Has one Miami B.S. and M.S. alike, already. Getting his 2nd-Masters swagg as I type… and I’ve never typed that… b4. Props.edu.cubed! Dejan Vasiljevic and current teammate Deng Gak are both from the same Adidas touring team… so someone must have some Steinlager connections/juice from Miami here. (UPDATE: not heinous… tho’ nearly all markers dipped a bit here, ⇓, for it).
- Charlie Moore, Point.G., (another) 6th-r-Senior season returnee! Wild… 5′11″, 18o lb., One who gets you: a pretty dang improved: 12.7 ppg with 2.6 rpg on the team lead at: 4.o apg and the team blue-ribbon for 2.o spg alike. Glue-guy 1o1… could Co-Op at Elmer’s if given the chance. Inner-city Chi-Town or Windy-City worker bee who drones on by way of: DePaul then by way of Kansas then by way of California Berkley and now by way of… Miami. 4 teams in 6 seasons if you are keeping D-1 score @home. wowzo! Never read that one before, either. Anywho… 1st-team All-Big East last year at DePaul does not suck; and neither does 45.9% from the floor or his 38.9% from 3-point-land; and neither did 16 ppg a couple of teams back @Kansas U. Consensus #1 baller in Illinois H.S. ball and 56th baller overall per Rivals way back when. Named Illinois Mr. Basketball, Illinois Gatorade Player of the Year, and Chicago Sun-Times Player of the Year. Two-time back-to-back (Fr. and Soph. seasons in H.S.) AAA titlist for the state of Illinois itself. Does enjoy a DePaul diploma already, and his nickname is “CMo”. Good overall baller here men, mighta had a little mo’ expected of CMo coming outta high school tho’. (UPDATE: …⇔ grade, not ’cause he was flat, mo’ because he was up and down all over alike… a; n-e-t (get it???) canceling effective if you will).
- LOVE of Miami and Coach Jim MUST be strong for this many guys to still want work and come-hexa-back for the 6th-time (again); here!
Da U Weaknesses:
- …as you will read below and have read above… a pretty porous rebounding program.
- 6′9″, 215 lb. (alleged) super-Soph., Anthony Walker F, and his 5 ppg and 2 rpg have been a big disappointment to a vertically challenged Da U team thus far. Mo’ below…
- Correspondingly frontcourt depth is virtually nonexistent here… “so thin a to be damn near invisible.” *****, Adm., Chester William Nimitz, pre-Midway.
‘Cane Bench: (depth=4 to 6 most nites)
True-C, Rodney Miller Jr., is a bulked-up looking 6′12″, 225 lb., a space-eater by way of basketball factory Oak Hill Academy who decided to finally wear his r-Shirt last season. Or at least he was… as the updated roster(s) say he has cut 25+ odd lbs. this off-season? Also, haberdashering (this is a slick-dressing kid) would be a lotta size, and his career averages of: 6.2 ppg, 6.1 rpg, and greater expectations to finally step forward per his 6o% shooting in the paint (pardon the frontcourt, pun). As said, the whispers say that Rod’ cut nearly 25 lbs. during off-season workouts, (again), this summer and looks the better/fitter man for it. More active on D what with 1.o bpg to boot. That said, being on the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll (3.2+ G.P.A.) is a non-issue in this case so hopefully, 6th-r-Sr. year Mister Miller figures things out this year. As he was first seen dunking at a downright nutty age 12 and he was only the 90th ranked scholastic hardwood baller from Scout. Tho’ the 66% Free-Throwing is orange paint chip friendly. So, more has been expected from this likable student-athlete athletically speaking to be sure. doghouse? (UPDATE: was out fo’ the 2o21 year: right-knee-rip, St.Nikon bless!!! To end last year… this year he is down by nearly ¾’ers in most metrics straight across… as he just don’t look right on film to me. Did he cut good-mass this time out? Coach God Bless sum, mo’).
(UPDATE2: …the latest scuttlebutt is… Miller is (now) sidelined with a: ‘left-groan’, or groin, injury! St.Elmo’ help… yikes!)
(UPDATE3: …home got his junk back in da’ yard… I presume… as he is off the Injury Listing, although he is only checking limited P.T. or minutes in the last couple of rounds since he got back). A good player too… could do mo’ with mo’ P.T. or minuting I have to expects).
Anthony Walker: 6′9″, 216 lb., Four or P/F by way of localized B’More, Maryland fame. 3rd-year-Soph. on the dead period of a year. Has a history of dings and dents, in-and-out of the line-up at times (Godspeed). When he is in, he is a utility frontcourt guy who can match up multiple position(s) if need be. 5.4 ppg with 2.6 rpg and 0.7 apg in relief is ‘K enuff. The 45.6% overall and 25.9% from long-range need some tinkering and puttering, however. Did win win win the National Prep Championships and a region championship, as well the NEPSAC AAA title game, during his lone year with the Brewster Academy team. I’d have to say that counts counts counts. Cut d0wn two back-to-back AAAA rings behind all of dat. Kinda a mini-me Bill Russell as scholastic hardware goes. He’s got five rings in fo’ years, yo’. Honor Roll student the whole time on top of that. Which is not ½-bad work; considering, Walker only took up basketball at age 15! wowow!!! 256th hommie nationally by 247Sports, although consensus **** or quad-star recruit by everyone. Did not rate as high due to the late-adaptor (to hoops) as product life cycles go. Curious kid; if/when the reps/sweat all come together… gotta be some late-bloomer headroom here. (UPDATE: …this kid is up over a handful of percent from both the floor and from 3-ball-land alike. And that is VERY hard to late-season ask, too… gotta be an: ⇑ grade for it. Bra-vo @a.Walk’!)
r-5th-Jr., 6′10″, 22o lb. P/F and Foster’s Beer by way of Cairo, Egypt hommie, Deng Gak, and his surgically repaired left knee (St.Nikhon help); were done for the year last time we saw Miami. Also done for the year were his just south of 3 points, 4 boards, on 64% with and a swat as a back-up Four or frontcourt sub’. This is from a protein shake guzzling kid who got to Miami at 195 lbs. as the no.91 ranked recruit in America per ESPN.com. Gone also were his absurd 7′5″ wingspan, his gazelle floor running game, and his defensive acumen. As this is a name to remember, as this rare P/F mid-range oriented Gak kid (appears) to have a pretty high ceiling with some headroom to grow through indeed. Or at least it seemed he did… as Gak got 2o21 back after a torn right meniscus in his knee last season. St.Nikon help! Tho’ he was down to 2.6 ppg and 3.o rpg on 50% last year. This year Gak has gone out and found himself 11 lbs. of sinew and some better shooting: 54.5% overall and 87.5% from the charity stripe. As you gotta wonder what this kid could be on 2-good-wheels? He and his fam’ are swampers… per: Dinka descent (Africa). Tallest tribe in Africa, and spearmen to this very day. (Plus, all the ash-raised skin tattoos… great luck on wanting to ruble with this bunch). (UPDATE: …pretty much on the level or a Swiss or Neutral grade here, ⇔).
Harlond Beverly is a 6′5″, 196 lb. nugget or rookie year voter from the Motor City. He was only the 42nd recruiting in America and 9th best S/G according to rivals last year. During which he was a Michigan Class D state champion while his team merely finished 4th in the whole dang USofA. That’s “Wolverines!” all… in the meantime whoever… Beverly was hilling his way to 7.2 ppg, a somewhat improved 4.8 rpg, and likewise uppity 3.4 apg. Although his 15.6% from behind the arc is less than tempting, the book here says that Beverly is more of a Combo-G who can lead a team and penetrate to the basket. He is known for his versatility and his freaky athletics as well. Full name is Harlond Terrill Beverly… and he likes to go by “H”. So “H” it is as “H” is from one of the rarefied really good-looking full family homes. Really wish I could type that out mo’ often too— I really do. Tho’ this is not your typical recruit… something of a 2020 G.Hill playing lead-G. “Thanks” @Coach God on that. Has been off this year, however, even if he found 1″ and about a 10-lb. plate this off-season. His in-season numbers are halved (or mo’) straight across. Seems like he could be doing a bit mo here…
(UPDATE: …listed as ‘out indefinitely with a bad-bad… St.Wolfgang bless! As nothing I found read any good here… dang…)
(UPDATE2: …now listed as: “Out for the Season”. Coach God bless!)
Illation, conclusion(s) and OPT digits:
Number of 'canes who could category @Tech=.
The takeaway here is…
…this is a pretty dang testy test.
…at least your hardest midterm at VT.edu methinks.
Miami is a very dang imbalanced hoops team—to be sure, no argument here. It is rather that they are heavily balanced into anything other than fronting or posing as their backcourt goes. Their 1-2-3-Wing look is nearly five-stars (*****) when they get it going from long-range. Possibly the best hindcourt on the Atlantic Coast.
Or in other words, this is an isomer Tale of Two (backcourting) Cities.
Or, a Dickens of a game if fought from the outside or from range.
(Ore… now would be a great time for Aluma or Mutts to hit the frontcourt mother-lode and truly strike it rich. That could indeed be the O&M key, here!)
Our handy-dandy friend the so-called Forum Guide of Graham Houston fame is calling for a mind-numbing 57-point VomiT in this Saturday afternoon matinee. Here however are the keys… recently it favored Miami a little, distantly it favored Miami severely (hence da U shaped skewing of an elongated fiddy-seven-point tail). In the middle, however, it favored VeeTee. And it favored VeeTee in more games as a pure Mode or game-count went. The caveat is… the best possible Miami A-game punch is a heavy one. It is prolly trending on legit kayo power as opposed to mere TKO voltage. That 220v hit would be a tough one to catch; and it would be mo’ likely that Miami could land that k.Kong-sized power-play @home than @Tech vis-à-vis. (Per capita and this works out to a far more manageable looking 4.75-point sized Hurricane advantage).
The annualized year-to-date vitals say that… Vah.Tech is up a decent +4% in shooting percentage margin (per: both O’s being nearly identical, and only the O&M D being better. NOTICE: been a while since I’ve typed that out); with V.P.I. up a serviceable +7% in 3-point percentage margin with just 1% mo’ from O than from D), and VeeTee is up nearly a useful looking +7 caroms in rebounding margin on Windex Wipes year-to-date. (Note: VT is just in a rebounding surplus, whereas Miami is well beneath backboarding equilibrium itself. i.e., we are okay, and yet these ‘Canes pretty much blow).
The most recent 5-game metrics say that… the Hokies are up a bassackwards looking +2% in shooting percentage margin (as Da U has been blazing hot on O (+6%) of late and yet even mo’ user-friendly on D (–8%) over the same timespan); on top of that, Miami is now up a rather conspicuous looking +8% in 3-point percentage margin (with superiorities both on O (+3%) and on D (–5%), alike!), and yet nearly as shockingly …the F’n Gobblers are now up over +4.5 misses in rebounding margin in the last fortnight of Fiber-Glassing itself. (VeeTee has improved, and Miami has worsened at the same rebound-dating time).
DA ON TREND(s):
The Hurricanes are 1o-4 in home games. Miami is 7-3 in games decided by 10 or more points. i.e., we need to hang around… this ‘Cane team can do sharp damage in a hurry when they get it rolling from outside.
Virginia Tech will be looking for a little payback when it visits Miami for an Atlantic Coast Conference game on Saturday afternoon. On Jan. 26, Charlie Moore banked in a half-court, buzzer-beating shot to lead the visiting Hurricanes to a 78-75 win over the Hokies in Blacksburg, Va. However, since taking that heart-breaking L, the Hokies have dorsal-fin rallied to win seven of eight contests!
Moore, McGusty, and Miller are all among the A.c.c. leaders in swipes and that’s often how Miami beats teams. The Hurricanes have produced double-figure steals 12 times this season, including 14 thefts against the Hokies. w0w!
BO DEREK’s 10-SPOT:
LAST 10 GAMES: Hurricanes: 6-4, averaging 71.4 points, 27.7 rebounds, 14.2 assists, 8.9 steals, and 2.7 blocks per game while shooting 47.2% from the field. Their opponents have averaged 68 points per game.
LAST 10 GAMES: Hokies: 7-3, averaging 71.1 points, 28.8 rebounds, 15.6 assists, 5.6 steals, and 2.9 blocks per game while shooting 47.4% from the field. Their opponents have averaged 64.7 points.
Da U is up +1% at the charity stripe for the year.
VeeTee is up a useful +3 in R&R in the last fortnight.
Miami is a .714 host; whereas VeeTee is .545 as a guest.
No.4o Net Ranking Virginia Tech @ no.61 Net Ranking Miami:
READERS OBSERVE: …upon studying Miami and updating my pet 32-team-wide metrics outta the entirety of 35o D-1 men’s hoops teams that Eye track for every single preview, you ask?
Well, frankly… I’ma kinda surprised or even impressed that Miami is this good. Miami serially is a rather trying or trialing backcourt pious team indeed that is adjudicated sharp enough in One thru Two thru Three thru Wing terms. Granted. Case dismissed.
However, they are so dang backcourt heavy as to appear to be a frontcourt hung-jury of sorts… at least at times.
Or in other words… I do anything and everything I can to ding their Top-3 (McGusty, Wong, and Moore) with any personal foul that I humanly can.
As in… as great as they rightfully are… there is a drop-off behind them and it is a heterogeneous drop to mere so-so Frontcourters themselves. Not to even mo’ G’s or a 3-ring shooting circus.
Vlade Divac ‘flop’, drive their triune G’s to the rack and try for contact off of pump-fakes, screening violations, and press them to wear their gaudy Guardy trifecta Top-3 down.
…likewise, they are NOT a very deep or a very productive pine-squad by-the-bye. As a stellar O&M benching would really go a long way, here.
So, this is a closely matched one.
One of a good G on good G crime if you will.
The key to solving ^that^ Guarded equation will be… pacing!
Not crunched/listed above is the factoid that V.Tech has trumped 62-points in a game just once since the 1st-week of the 2nd-month-of-the-year, which is set to expire in a couple of days’ time.
On the other hand… Da U has cracked north of the very same 62-point barrier every single game less once, since o1.21.22!!! Or 90% of the time in the last near 6-weeks of runnin’ hoopz.
Think about that as manual vs. automatic, gearing, and as offensive R.P.M.’s go.
- We go down and try to overtake So.Beach as Hurrying Hokies and haste=waste.
- We go down to Coral Gables in a more orderly fashion and gear-down and get Miami to play at Coach Mike’s 2nd or 3rd gear pace and this one will slowly shift in our favor.
So, ergo, therefore, to Whit… place your pace bets, a.c.c.ordingly! 💯
Whoever revs this game the way then wants?
Wins! Simple as that.
🍊 >>> <<< 🏀 <<< >>>> 🦃
(53% confidence interval)
Virginia Tech=7o Miami=76