Virginia Tech Miami basketball preview

#20 R.P.I. Miami @ #64 R.P.I. Virginia Tech:

Virginia Tech men’s basketball must be butter because Virginia Tech men’s basketball is on a 3-game win streak roll!

The Hokies (hopefully) are now officially out of coach Buzz Williams annual mid-season slump as the hooping Hokies have reeled off three very useful looking W’s in the last fortnight. Now they welcome the sunny So.Beach sojourning team to a run inside our very own Cassell –as the always defensive thrifty Miami Hurricanes are coming to town. The U checks in at 16 up and 5 down on the season thus far and .5oo vs. ranked teams. You can watch the contest nationally at 2pm Saturday on ESPN’ESPN3; nevertheless, who will win? You can read on, to find… out!

Miami Head Coach: James Joseph Larrañaga: Age=68, 625–408 (.605) overall, and 155–74 (.677) at Miami.
$1,300,000.oo base (w/ $700k for retention)

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 quietly a 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 the field of Management since arriving at Mason in 1997.

There are i-net whispers that Larrañaga is “coach-3” in the college basketball corruption probe earlier this year (per: USAToday).

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 schools.

The U at a glance:

  • 17th fewest fouls “whistled” against in D-1.
  • 19th in 3-point defense (30.8% allowed).
  • 26th in FG percentage defense (30.3% allowed).
  • 33rd in scoring D (65.6 ppg allowed).
  • 52nd fewest turnovers (11.9 tpg).
  • 337th in FT-percentage (64.8%).

‘Cane Returning Starters=2

Miami Strengths:

  • Great defensive length from Da U in this one.
  • Has some swag‘ and enough game. That would be the 6′3″, 191 lb. final year Philly playground Pt.G Ja’Quan Newton; who is the one that most were penciling in as being the alpha-scorer for Da U pre-season. However, at 8 ppg ‘Quan is pretty well cut-n-half from last year, as a classic and confident lead-G. ‘Quan has a rep’ for being a tough cover off the dribble and finishing hard at the rim. His J is said to be so-so and 43% from the floor and yet a paltry 16% from range seems to speak fluently enough to that. Newton also has a tag as not playing under control at times, although he was also tagged as 2nd or 3rd string pre-season all-A.c.c. honors by a few publications as well. As ‘Quan is second for the ‘Canes in dimes dropped at 2.9 apg, and he did by far and away leads Miami in FTA’s last year; though that too is cut in half and now pegs at a modest looking 60.7%. This from the Philly Catholic School all-time leading scorer who did win State in 2o14 accordingly; along with being recognized as the 14th ranked G outta high school from ESPN. God Bless, as both parents is already reposed; nonetheless, his old man (Joe Newton), was the 1998 N.A.B.C. Division II National Player of the Year out of the University of Central Oklahoma. As his mum passed on the eve of his winning the Pennsylvania state title (breast cancer); of all calendar things. So there is little doubt that this kid has been through a lot in his two decades and change worth of breathing and you’d have to think his sense of perishables and therefore (legit) mental-toughness is rather highly developed in Piãget terms for it. Still yet, this is pretty mercurial work from one of the formerly best 6th men in the country now turned starter; so who knows where ‘Quan goes from here? (Though you do know he’s been through a lot as his Circle of Life is a rhomboid at best; God Bless).
  • 6′11″, 237 lb. second year Dewan Huell is now more of a filled-out and filled-in former fillet mid-range scorer who is more comfortable further away from the basket offensively. As Huell added 1′ and an absurd 33 lbs. of right-mass this off-season! Accordingly, Huell now gives you the team leading alpha swagg at a much improved 13.4 ppg and 6.9 rpg on a sizzling 61% overall and 71% from the charity-stripe and was the very lofty 21st nationally ranked high school baller two years ago from He is also the cousin of Miami Rb Duke Johnson | with a deceased brother; Dylan; God Bless. Huell has the tag of a strong offensive-rebounder (196% more offensive boards than any other ‘Cane) who therefore scores a lot right at the rim with 1 bpg to boot. Dewan moonlights for the U’s T&F team where he participates in the 800m’s and the high jump. So this is a cross-fit cross-sport stud athlete indeed! And you gotta wonder where Dewan is come 2020?
  • Bruce Brown is a 6′5″, 202 lb. all-A.c.c. Academic team sophomoric baller from Boston Mass., with a big-time high level athletic call-sign in scholastic terms. He’s also a second year guy that added a needed ~11 lbs. of right-mass in the off-season. Brown can do a lot for you as a combo-G, with a shooting and defensive stopper rep’, two things the Association never seems to run out of, either. Brown was only ranked #30 this time two years ago by ESPN and he only won one state title ~20 months ago. B.B. was a multi-sport athlete at Wakefield High School as he stared at Wr and Ss on the gridiron and he also started in baseball and Jay Vee soccer. So his hand-eye coordination is probably 1970’s pantheon of sport adroit. Bruce also boasts a whopping 6’10” wingspan and that only aid and abet his team lead in defensing with 1.3 spg. Right now Brown is second in scoring at 11.1 ppg and a surprising 1st best in rebounding at 7.7 caroms at 41% overall and 26% from downtown; although his marksmanship is way way down this year; nearly 16% off behind the 3-point arc. Film-study shows a very high bounce or palming violation(s) looking dribble; hope Buzz and Co. work this good and hard. Though make no mistake; this kinda rebounding on a height per capita basis wins you an overseas paycheck. (READERS UPDATE: Bruce is said to have suffered a practice court left-foot injury (and surgery) and be out for six weeks time. Godspeed!)

    John Cocktosen‘s favorite ‘Cane.
  • One #4, 6′5″, 205 lb. Lonnie Walker IV -same as Irwin M. Fletch(er)- is a good 6′9″ with his twist-top ‘fro. Seriously, this kid -same as the B.C. kid- has it hirsute going on bro’. Walker was only ranked the no.12 baller in America last year per ESPN and was only named the Keystone State Pa. AAAAAA or six-A Player of the Year 2017. He also was crowed the Pa. AAAAAA state champion last year and came up in the Philly A.A.U. all-kid all-world system. Walker IV has a nasty 6′10″ wingspan and his 11 ppg, on 43% from the floor and 36% from 3-point land will only mature and evolve. Lonnie was the no.2 S/G prospect in the nation and is said to have the ability to score from all over the floor. Lonnie is also said to court a high hoops I.Q. and be a punishing finisher at the rack. Did tear his meniscus (knee cartilage) in the off-season (St.Nikon bless); although he seems none the worse for wear for it. As this kid is prolly a pro’, only question is export or domestic?

Miami Weaknesses:

  • I suppose one way to say it is to say that Miami is very balanced on O. Another way to say it is to say that Da U does not court a true alpha-scorer and therefore (some) nights go-to points are at a premium.
  • Pt.G Ja’Quan Newton is talented; and he’s about as inconsistent as they get. Though if he even finds his apex 2017 game this year; look; out!
  • As you can read above, FT’s could be a CAT IV stormy problem here if this one goes down to the wire for the ‘Canes.
  • God Bless, although Bruce’s injury could be a game-changer here; as we/V.Tech are sure facing talented although insalubrious teams at just the right; time of late.

Hurricane Bench: (depth=3)

Melbourne Australia import second year 6′3″, 205 lb.Dejan Vasiljevic nets you 8.9 ppg and snags 2.9 caroms on 38% deep in relief. 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.

Anthony Lawrence II has taken over as the lead sub’ of late for Miami; and he chips in with 7 ppg and 4 boards in relief. Lawrence Jr. is a 6′7″, 21o. lb. Jr. year Swing with a leaping rep’ for scoring inside per staring in the high jump in T&F in high school. Law’ is said to be a jack of all trades: he can hit the J (9 ppg; on 50% and 48% long), work off the dribble (6.6 rpg), pass (2.9 apg) and be a defensive force (1.2 spg and 1.1 bpg). That’s sum dang fine stat-stuffing all-around substitution acumen folks; as Lawrence can start at at least 50%+ of the rest of D-1.

Beating a pretty fair to middling Miami at home is all about... what???

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Illation, conclusion(s) and OPT digits:

Number of 'Canes who could start @Tech=3, prolly, 4.

the takeaway:
The takeaway here is… even with an uneven finish composure wise up on Chestnut Hill on Wednesday night… that was a pretty dang big win that honestly should have never seen the extra innings in play.

Or in other words… we may have got away with one; still, we did manage to get outta town with one much needed Atlantic Coast road dub-a-u. That historic .3oo percent win marker for visiting teams in the A.c.c. and I both agree… you take Atlantic Coast road wins when you get ’em, you start the bus, you warm up the jet and you laugh all the way home.

Thing is… as someone posted on Will’s pay-side Thursday night… I’m still having a tough time pegging such a skillful perimeter and shooting oriented tradecarft team. As the Good Book teaches us all… “he who lives by the 3-point sword shall perish by the same” and we don’t even have a Robert Parrish to do work down low. We have one quality penetrator (J.Rob); and after that what happens when our outside J is not falling between now and March {sic: Madness}? “I don’t know” is the short answer… although I do know I doubt I’d be picking us to win here if this one were down in Coral Gables.


the skinny
Miami is about as industrious of a visitor as you will find with a none too shabby 5-3 or .625 roads metric. The Hokies are 11-2 when hosting; posting a .846 win probability. Our handy dandy head-to-head common opponent deducting the so called Forum Guide of Graham Houston fame is calling for a whopping 15 point Miami VicTory on Saturday afternoon. The seasonal O & D differentials favor Tech by 2% from the floor and 1% from deep with Miami up +3 in rebounding margins. The Home/Away splits say that Vah.Tech is a whopping 9% better overall and 5% better long, with a shocking +5 Hokie rebounding margin edge in Cassell. The most recent 5-game trends state the very same 9% superiority from the floor for the Hokies; although with a curious -2% deficit from deep for Buzz’s bunch; with Miami up a worrisome +7 in Rebounding Margin on the boards.

the call
So in other words… my pet regression techniques, aver, posit and connote a very even game. As the recent Hurricane tropical depression on defense is pretty well negated by a dip in Hokie shooting from the arc and the Windex work from the Miami bigs on the glass.

An open Jim, coach…

That’s code for a pick ’em game; or possibly even a bonus 5 minute period 0f play. As if/when Buzz and company suffer a chilly midwinter’s night from distance -from here on out- all bets are off; and that effort based rebounding margin for Miami is something that should never go cold.

That all being rightfully objectively stated, Virginia Tech is actual a latent +2 on rest in the last eight days; whereas Miami has logged two overtimes or 10 bonus minutes worth of running ball. Now mix in the hurtful B.Brown foot break and if nothing else… same as the last three games… in lieu of any better prognosticinti rune stone traction, I’ll merely side with the healthier team —that just so happens to be the home team.

Although I won’t be siding with Buzzketballs by, much…

(57% confidence interval)
Virginia Tech
=83, Miami=8o







Hmmmmmmmm, let’s see… the 1 or 1a (Jennifer’s hubby J.Montana says: “ahem!“) the 1 or 1a all-time Qb1 vs. a back-up Qb2… since half-past-when has the back-up Qb2 ever upset the G.O.A.T. Qb1 in any Super Bowl? Me, neither… Pats by 1.5 full plays.

6 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Don’t forget that Larranaga was an assistant with Terry Hollande’s French Hoos from about 1979- mid 1980s.

    1. I can listen to that.

      Though coach Jim teams (tend) to leave something to be desired in the gym on the offensive end.


  2. Brilliance insights!!!
    Ray Charles & Betty Carter sang, “Baby it’s cold outside”, but’s in a packed to the rafters Cassell’s it’s gonna be one hot place to play.
    Look for that catalyst to heat up the court as VT starts hot and ends hotter, running these Hurricanes out of town. Blowout!

    Let’s Go…Hokies!!!

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