Miami basketball preview!

 #96 R.P.I. Virginia Tech #56 R.P.I. Miami:

Virginia Tech men’s basketball looks to regroup after a major VicTory that was followed up by a third lieutenant sized L while stumbling Saturday afternoon up on Chestnut Hill.

The Hokies must now shake themselves, come correct and sojourn 9o1 miles south to run ball with the Miami Hurricanes down on the trendy max’ bio-sculpting/bio-hacking So.Beach. Where the squirrelly looking 10 up and 9 down (.285 inside the A.c.c.) and mutually downright streaky looking Hurricanes are laying in the 2019-2020 flotsam wait. And as we all just found out… you never ever know anything fo’ sho’ re: The All Coaching Conference road until you get home safe-n-sound with your favored W in hand just the same. Nonetheless… you wanna know who is gonna win this one and by how much, right? So, read on; to find… out!

Miami Head CoachJames Joseph Larrañaga: Age=7o, 6655-440 (.598) overall, and
185–106 (.636) at Miami.
$1,300,000.oo base (w/ $700k for retention)

(antediluvian) swagg.

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).

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:

  • 11th fewest personal-fouls “whistled” against.
  • 43rd fewest Turnovers.
  • 291st fewest FTA’s.
  • 3o2nd in Scoring D allowed!
  • 314th in defensive FG percentage allowed!
  • 330th in most assists!!
  • 336th in all-important Rebounding Margin!!!
  • 7 team rankings are ≥300th worst | with 17 outta 31 no better than C—/D+++.
  • (a couple of injuries and dings/dents live here— Coach God bless!)

Hurricane Returning Starters=3

Miami Strengths:

  • Melbourne Australia import third year 6′3″, 19o lb. Dejan Vasiljevic nets you a bettering 14.2 ppg and snags 3.8 caroms on 41.1% deep. He is said to be a pure spot-up shooting off-G who has range though is something of a defensive liability, and his offensive sets are said to lack diversity. “DeeJay” is of Serbian descent and he put up some smart-looking FIBA World Championships and lesser FIBA tourney numbers; plus, he is the G.P.A. team leader; great on that. (UPDATE: Dejan shed nearly 20 lbs. of weight since we saw him two springs ago and seems to be nimbler and mobile for it. Not quite fast-twitch sparky guy, although testing agility better for it if you will | Vas’ was also omitted from my pre-season magazines last year; so I’d presume they did not expect him 2019, back). Additionally, Miami shooting-G DJ Vasiljevic had hit at least one 3-pointer in 33 straight games, the longest former streak among A.c.c. players and tied for the third-longest in Hurricane history (which broke the game after we played Miami last).  (2nd UPDATE: scuttlebutt says: “bad back” here, may St.Wolfgang help! status=UNDISCLOSED) (3rd UPDATE: Dejan seemed to move well enough @Charlotte and dropped a team-leading 21 to help ‘cane Wake; while flashing way more all-around game of late; and he looks tonier/fitter this weight-room year to me as well) And oh by the way… 97.4%? Well, that nearly leads the World in FT-shooting! Never mind leading just the ‘canes or the A.c.c. or college ball itself. 15′, set-shot… wowowow!!!
  • 5′7″, 165 lb., mini-me, mighty-mite, (found 12 squat lbs. of musculature) supercalifragilistic as he can vertically be, one #2, Chris Lykes, is the alpha swagg on offense for da U with a team-leading 15.7 ppg on 43% from the floor, with an upward bound 36.8% deep and now a sharp-looking 81.1% FTA’s. Lykes is also first in dimes dropped (2.6 apg) and the blue ribbon in swipes (1.2 spg) and his short-stuff 1.9 rpg ain’t hurting a team that needs a lotta helping (1ι) one-iota either. Although Chris’ handles -or lack thereof- at a “slippy” or butterfingers looking 2.2 tpg shows you just how much Lykes is trying to do for Miami this year. i.e. too much even for a pretty slick street-baller to go Atlas try to carry upon his B+ caliber although type A-game inner-city back. That being said, on an inch-for-inch or lb. for lb. basis… who is doing Atlantic Coast dynamo more? Be that on-court or off-court in All-A.c.c. Academic Team and A.c.c. Academic Honor Roll terms. This from the ESPN no.45 baller in America who is yet another District escapee who did not wanna run ball for VeeTee. As Lykes was only the 2016 Washington, D.C. Gatorade Player of the Year. As the book here reads: Lykes is a skilled ball handler with a dynamic combination of quickness and shooting ability who can finish in traffic with contact or hit long-range threes. Chris nearly netted 50% of his threes in scholastic terms even if he does appear to palm the ball a bit on tape. In particular upon his inbounds reception initial bounce. (UPDATE: poor Chris, who is suffering from the dreaded shebang injury of all real live Y-chromosomes everywhere… the ubiquitous “groin injury” is the male-call grimacing word here. May St.Margert bless!)

    Leaking out 1o1…
  • True-C, Rodney Miller Jr., 6′12″, 238 lb., a space-eater by way of basketball factory Oak Hill Academy who decided to finally wear his r-Shirt last season. Also, haberdashering (this is a slick-dressing kid) would be a lotta size, a few 6.9 ppg, 5.7 rpg, and greater expectations to finally step-forward per his 58% shooting in the paint (pardon the frontcourt, pun). As Rod’ cut nearly 20 lbs. during off-season workouts this summer and looks the better/fitter man for it. That said, being on the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll (3.2+ G.P.A.) is a non-issue in this case so hopefully, r-Jr. year Mister Miller figures things out this year or next. As he was first seen dunking at a downright nutty age 12 and he was only the 90th ranked scholastic hardwood baller from Scout. So more has been expected from this likable student-athlete athletically speaking to be sure.

Miami Weaknesses:

  • Oklahoma transfer, Kameron McGusty is a pretty useful looking 6′5″, 195 lb., r-Jr. off-G by way of Katy, Tx. He of 14.5 ppg, 2.1 apg, 1.1. spg and 4.5 rpg are listed as: UNKOWN or day-to-day due to “back spasms” and this would be a pretty big addition to our chances although a sizeable subtraction to da U’s odds.  McGusty has some scoring gusto indeed… 33% 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— and he’s had it going pretty good of late. (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?)
  • r-Soph., 6′10″, 211 lb. P/F and Foster’s Beer by way of Cairo, Egypt hommie, Deng Gak and his surgically repaired left-knee (St.Nikhon help); are done for the year. Also done for the year are his just south of 3 points, 4 boards, on 64% with and a swat as a back-up Four or frontcourt sub’. This from a protein shake guzzling kid who got to Miami at 195 lbs. as the no.91 ranked recruit in America per Gone also is 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. (UPDATE: done for the duration due to a torn right meniscus in his knee. St.Nikhon help!)
  • Keith Stone is a 5.5 ppg and 3.8 substitute frontcourt (6′8″, 244 lb., Four) who is due back somewhere midrange February St.Nikhon and Coach God willing.
  • Hate to say this… as I am actually a Jim-Dandy fan… tho’ I am wondering if Jim is aging out? Coach God, Fr.Time and sex… all undefeated.
  • And there have been a lotta little whispers and vibes down at Miami Vice of late… if you know what Eye mean…
  • Miami only had six, that’s (6) guys available last time out vs. U.n.c. —you do the maths!

Hurricane Bench: (depth=2+, sometimes 4)

The pride of Auckland, New Zealand… and an extremely rarefied ginger-topped Sam Waardenburg and his slightly improved 6 ppg and his noticeably more than doubled 6.5 rpg on an incrementally worsening (actually) 24% from 3-point-land and basically the same 42% from the floor chips more than a little paint. As this 6′10″, 215 lb. r-Jr. season big from below and to the right of down under is supposed to be a solid-shooter over in Pacific League(s) terms who can act (somewhat) as a proxy Point-F from the high-elbow or low-post. Sam does lead Miami in swat-team work (1.1 bpg) and yet this unusual roundball gray-shirt enrollee does sport one more SAS Secondary Schools National Championship ring in hoops than you and I combined. And Waardenburg has plenty of Asiatic and Oceanic touring medals (tho’ no Gold’s) with a buncha international experience in tow. And he is the very first Geography Major I’ve ever seen in my decades plural of doing this. As in… even if Sam never dominates, you could do worse when mapping out a complementary type substitute frontcourt reliever.

Harlond Beverly is a 6′4″, 186 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 is hilling his way to 6.6 ppg, 1.8 rpg, and 2.3 apg. Although his 27.8% 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.

There is talent off this Miami Bench… However, this ‘Cane pine-squad ain’t often confused with the word… deft… as in touch… as in makes. As takers, they gots… makers? Not so much.  Tho’ do check back on Beverly come 2023. He’s possibly a pure athlete who just needs to round his all-’round game out. (ditto: Gak if/when his body allows).

Beating Miami down in the Sunshine State as a 2-point fave is all about, what(s)?

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Illationconclusion(s) and OPT digits:

Number of 'canes who could blow @Tech=3 or 4.

the takeaway:
The takeaway here is… we appear to be the superior team; again.

And yet we are back out on the All Coaching Conference road; again.

A road that is just a dang tough/parched row to hoe. As @Chestnut Hill or the lowercase parquet, with just 30% odds historically out on the A.c.c. road as the A.c.c. visitor just up and reminded us all rather harshly again last Saturday at about half-past 4 PM up in the middle of New York state.

And just in case you did not see the ESPN Basketball Power Index odds for this one prior to the end of the last one? Well, ESPN Basketball Power Index cut our odds to win -as the 2-point betting favorite mind you- down on So.Beach by nearly a full 20%!

That’s Textbook temporally overweighting immediacy itself; or Recency Effect in horns vs. halos terms for you.

Tho’ history would indeed say that the newer odds are the less jumped-up.


Our handy-dandy friend the so-called Forum Guide of Graham Houston fame is calling for an obscene looking 52-point blow-out VicTory in favor of beloved VeeTee. Same as last time @Boston College that sure reads Bastogne or “nuts” to me. So, even on a pro-rata or pro-game basis, an 11.4 point road Tech Triumph likewise appears a bit elastic to me. (then it struck me… what if both of these disproportional terms are successfully describing the very same, thing? i.e. a team that has already… peaked?) More on that thought going a proverbial “splat” down below…

The annualized year-to-date vitals say that… V.Tech is up a nice looking +9% in shooting percentage margin (about 2/3rds of which was via better D); Vah.Tech is up a useful +7% in 3-point percentage margin (close to split, with a slight nod to O&M O); and (somehow) V.P.I. is up +5 in |absolute value| terms in rebounding margin (as both squads are trading underwater, it is just that the Hurricanes are far more submerged on the glass).

The most recent 5-game metrics say that… the Hokies are up +6% in shooting percentage margin (virtually all thanks to stiffer D); with the Fighting Gobblers up an astounding +19% in 3-point percentage margin (virtually evenly split between Hokie O and a windless ‘cane 3-point D); and then we find a near dead-heat in rebounding margin (with both clubs down basically 5 rpg in the last fortnight of Windex work).

Miami is up +4% at the charity stripe for the year. Solid free-throwing club.
V.Tech is a decent enough +2 in R&R in the last 2-weeks.
Da U is a .625 host; whereas Vah.Tech is .6 as a guest.

  1. The Hokies were held to just 25 second-half points thanks to a 1-for-9 effort from long distance after intermission @BeeCee. (i.e. does this speak to ‘tired legs’?)
  2. Landers Nolley II (17.9 ppg) paced the team with 15-points against BC, giving him eight straight games with double digits and 18 overall for the season.
  3. Nahiem Alleyne has been heating up in January of late with four straight games in double figures after recording 10 in the loss and he now has 10 3-pointers in the last three contests.
  4. The Hokies’ 14 turnovers against the Eagles was tied for their second-worst total for the season and were well above their nation-leading average (9.7). (this too… does this speak to: ‘fatigue’?)
  5. Thus far… the Hokies have held 12 opponents to 64 points or less. Going a nifty 11-1 in those defensively thriftier contests.
  6. Miami S/G DJ Vasiljevic ranks first in the ACC in 3-point field-goal percentage (41.1%)!
  7. Miami leads the all-time series 22-17, yet Virginia Tech has won the last three meetings.

The Call

No.51 Net Ranking Virginia Tech @ no.1o6 Net Ranking Miami:

We don’t know what we don’t know.”

Or Coach Donald Rumsfeld basketball here we (now), come…

Because you have to ask yourself… was that flat looking L up @Boston College a function of a pretty thin and very young team hitting the proverbial collegiate wall? (as there were circulated reports of a fatigue-build then a fatigue-fail pre-game for the O&M).


Or was this more so a truly Young hoops team?

Per our DOB, young.
As in youthful. Puerile. Immature.

8 PM Kick-Off!

As in this nubile and juvenile group has yet to figure out Atlantic Coast Constants in terms of maintaining a constant effort out on the A.c.c. road.

And although admittedly a little worn, we were not exactly totally worn-out —and our underage focus police is what really needed to arrest our F’n Eagle effort?

Come Tuesday night at ~11 PM and we will all objectively find, out…


Ergo, therefore, to Whit… all of ^that^ conspires to make this one, one dicey call.

@home in Cassell, I’d favor us by 5-10 points, maybe deeper into double-digits per a hot-shot homesteading night.

@Miami, down in hardwood Dolphin territory and what if it is the Hurricane home shooters who turn up the… Heat?

As I can mount a cogent defense if either argument if you like. What I do not like is that my separatist inkhorn between the two aforementioned arguments runneth dry. ’cause try as I might, I never quite gained studded-tire traction on either take.

Consequently, and in So.Beach alpha trendy terms, my illuminati Miami Sound Machine went a bit cognoscenti tone-deaf here.

Because this is close to a coin-flip type game now gents.

Once! Twice! Thrice… jinx!” (the old-school: rock, paper, scissors cadence…)

Or: rock, paper, Spock!


(52% confidence interval)
Virginia Tech
=75, Miami=7o




2 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Agree. Trying to recover after reading all… the…way. More or less. Seems the team is ready for a good game after a not-so- good one. I felt the offense was “at sea” at BC. Hope for more effectiveness in South Beach. A H.

    1. I hope so too… tho’ I try to confess my sins… and I gotta confess…
      I did not get a good handle/read on where our Team is at heading into @Miami?

      Tho’ Eye do know we are about to find out…

      ‘thx’ for the read/reply as well,

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