#125 R.P.I. Miami @ #25 R.P.I. Virginia Tech:
Virginia Tech men’s basketball returns home after a hard fought and hard L 45-minute extra-inning run in a game, grim and downright gutty effort down in Tally while scrumming for what amount(s) effectively to the double-bye and the A.c.c. Tournament’s coveted fourth seed.
The Hokies do need to shake themselves, come correct and send our seniors out like 27 hours per semester. Or with nothing less class. As we are all curious to see who will play the Pt.Guard in this one and we hope this one is not all that and a snap as a 30th game of the year on ESPN2 at 7 pm goes. Nonetheless, you wanna know who will win and by how much. So read on, to find… out!
Miami Head Coach: James Joseph Larrañaga: Age=69, 640–422 (.603) overall, and
170–88 (.659) 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 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: 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.
A fun guy this Coach, Jim.
Miami at a glance:
- 5th fewest personal fouls “whistled” against (∑=424). (⇔ same ranking, exactly, shockingly).
- 62nd fewest turnovers (∑=345). (⇓ 17 spots worse).
- 94rd most 3-point makes per game (8.5 3’s splashed). (⇓ by one whole entire spot).
- 299th in rebounding margin (–3 rpg). (⇓ 16 spots or a ½ rebounding of margin/game).
- With a staggering 27 rankings between about 117th and 265th nationally or an extremely average hoops team in statistical terms. C— to C+++ everywhere you go, folks.
- 3 or 4 injuries listed. i.e. a really beat-up looking team. Godspeed!
Returning Starters= now just 1, (was 2).
- Melbourne Australia import third year 6′3″, 184 lb. Dejan Vasiljevic nets you 11.3 ppg and snags 4.4 caroms on 37% 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 last spring and seems to be more nimble and mobile for it. Not quite fast-twitch sparky, although testing agility better if you will | Vas’ is also omitted from my pre-season magazines; so I’d presume they did not expect him, back) Additionally, Miami shooting-G DJ Vasiljevic had hit at least one 3-pointer in 33 straight games, the longest former streak among Ac.c. players and tied for the third longest in Hurricane history (which broke the game after we played Miami last). (UPDATE: Dejan is pretty flat other than 3-point shooting which has dropped by 5% since we saw him last, ⇓) (2nd UPDATE: scuttlebutt says: “bad back” here, may St.Wolfgang help! status=UNDISCLOSED)
- Anthony Lawrence II has taken over as the lead Wing with good ballhandling skills and the ability to get to the basket, and he chips in with a well improved 12.5 points and 6.3 boards. Lawrence Jr. is a 6′7″, 21o. lb. Sr. 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 (on 46% and 35% long), defend (1.2 spg & .8 bpg) and pass (3.o apg). That’s sum quite reasonable stat-stuffing all-around work folks— as Lawrence could have started at least 50%+ of the rest of D-1 the last few years. (UPDATE: A.Law’ really improved rebounding and assisting and a little scoring to boot, ⇑ and the rebounding improvement is nearly 1 board and that’s nearly unheard of this late in the year on tired legs) (2nd UPDATE: four double-doubles in a row and a career high last time out vs. Pitt says so!)
- 5′7″, 157 lb., mini-me, mighty-mite, supercalifragilistic as he can vertically be, one #2, Chris Lykes, is the alpha swagg on offense for da U with a team-leading 16.2 ppg on 41% from the floor, 32% deep and 76% FTA’s. Lykes is also first in dimes dropped (3.1 apg) and second in swipes (1.3 spg) and his short-stuff 2.6 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 2.9 tpg shows you just how much Lykes is trying to do for Miami this year. i.e. too much even for a pretty slick streetballer to go Atlas try to carry upon his R.A.T.T. B+ caliber though type A-game innercity 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-ACC Academic Team and ACC 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. (note: Lykes O has sprung a scoring leak of late). (UPDATE: poor Chris, every single metric fell, with some falling more than a scosche and that’s a telltale sign of an E.A. Poe or wearing down type baller ⇓, who has not even been hoisting them up or shooting itself, of; late)
- Zach Johnson is a 6′2″, 192 lb., r-Sr. year off-G who has been around for a minute or more or so it seems. As Florida Gulf Coast College -so-called: dunk city- g-transfer terms go, as Zach’ has been in college nearly as long as Eye was. Zac is actually second in point-production what with: 12 ppg per 29% when dialing long-distance is (now) marginal enuff output— this all on a declining 38.5% overall. Zacharia is Miami’s best stop-unit backcourt defender at 1.8 spg with 2.5 apg thrown in. He was also the no.1 recruit in Florida a few years ago and easily a top-100 baller wherever you looked. So the talent (seemingly) was there and there are three Miami Norland High School threepeat AAAAAAA (hexa-A) State Championship rings here to boot. Although ZeeJay is having the best year of his colligate career… as he can jump, he is supposed to be a pure-shooter and Zach seems a fluid fun to watch guy upon breaking tape. Maybe he is finally rounding into final-last-chance forum? As this kid has been Buster Poindexter: “hot hot hot” of late. (UPDATE: ZeeJay is ⇓ down close to everywhere, tho’ not as off as Chris was up above)
- Ja’Quan Newton, Dewan Huell, Bruce Brown, Lonnie Walker IV and a bunch production (30 ppg and 15 rpg) and experience— all, gonzo!
- 6′11″, 235 lb., third-year, Dewan Hernandez and his eligibility concerns are taking a classroom break for the moment. Also broken would be his 11.4 points and 6.9 rebounds (14th A.c.c. best last year) and several Coral Gables shot-blocking records in addition to all of that. As Dewan -who just legally changed his surname to Hernandez (to honor his mother) in October 2018- was prolly gaining ground on being at least a fringe overseas pro’ and possibly Miami’s best-returning frontcourter for 2019. May St.Catherine bless. (UPDATE: or maybe he will “PEACE-out” Miami.edu.now! And just Association, early-entry, declare. Godspeed at the next level(s)!)
- 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 with 4 boards and a swat as a back-up Four or frontcourt go. This 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 are 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.
- True-C, Rodney Miller Jr., 6′12″, 257 lb., a space-eater by way of basketball factory Oak Hill Academy decided to finally wear his r-Shirt, this year. Also haberdashering off would be a lotta size, a few ppg, and rpg and greater expectations to finally step-forward in the paint (pardon the frontcourt, pun). That said, being on the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll (3.2+ G.P.A.) is a non-issue in this case so hopefully, Mister Miller figures things out next year.
Hurricane Bench: (depth=2’ish)
Sam Waardenburg and his 5.6 ppg and 3.3 rpg on 36% from 3-point-land and 41% from the floor are paint chips galore. As this ‘Cane pine-squad ain’t exactly confused with the word… deft… as in touch… as in makes. As takers, they gots… makers? Not so much. (UPDATE: Sam’s extra minutes/extra looks have helped; he’s moved ⇑ upward noticeably, especially from behind the arc)
Final year, 6′10″, 232 lb. reserve frontcourter and Lagos, Nigeria native Ebuka Izundu has been forced into picking up some slack and he’s taken up a downright sharp amount. What with 11 ppg and 8 rpg surging display. 65% from the floor and 33% from long-distance do not suck. And neither does 1.4 bpg. As this kid and f0rmer no.70 ranked scholastic baller and high school sprinting star in the 100m and in the 200m’s as well has finally come alive. As this much latent careerist O from a kid with a defensive and rebounding tag is a most pleasant surprise. (UPDATE: ⇑ and away of late)
Illation, conclusion(s) and OPT digits:
Number of Hurricanes who could catagory @Tech=2 give/take.
The takeaway here is… Eye hope we are not playing Florida State twice as we need to be ready for the other Sunshine State team and not hit the Senior Day snooooooze button for this one here.
- Ahmed Hill,
- Ty Outlaw,
- “5” or J.Rob’ or Justin Robinson,
- and even the nebulously deposed Chris Clarke…
- and their approximate 2.1 decades of combined O&M service, feet(s) and knee hurt all merit more than that.
As “no” I do not favor the 13 up and 16 down (and 5-12 in the A.c.c.) Hurricanes to pilfer, cornbeef, or steal this one inside our very own rampart, revetment, and arching Cassell.
However, da U is clearly in a single-elimination format. As an upset VomiT vs. us, and (somehow) netting an A.c.c. Tourney win or two might just backdoor them into some lowercase version of being sprung for a mini-me Marching tournament; as opposed to leaving them backyard cloistered and coastally… Spring, Broke.
V.Tech is .867 as a hostess with the mostest, whereas Miami is .ooo or zero percent for 2019 (o-9) as a visitor in your house!
Our handy-dandy friend the so-called Forum Guide of Graham Houston fame is calling for a 6.2 point VicTory here. And Eye ran it for less J.Rob and head-to-head games only. And even then it had strange outliers in each +/- round-robin direction. Go, fig’…
The annualized year-to-date vitals say that… V.Tech is +8% in shooting percentage margin, V.Tech is+6 in 3-point percentage margin (all on O) and the Hokies are a nifty +5 in rebounding margin for the duration.
The most recent 5-game metrics say that… V.Tech is now up +5% in shooting percentage margin (per both teams late-season cooling off on O), V.Tech is now up +4% in 3-point percentage margin (all on defense) and the Fighting Gobblers are now up an astounding +11 boards in rebounding margin in the last couple of weeks. (w0w!)
V.Tech is up ~2% at the charity stripe for the campaign.
- Miami will be playing a first-round game in the Atlantic Coast Championship tourney for just the second time in Larranaga’s eight seasons.
- Accordingly, V.Tech is mathematically assured of playing on day no.2. Miami is mathematically assured of running on day no.1.
- (i.e. motive, or urgency, or a potential lack thereof); it’s all in the… maths.
- “I think it’s pretty remarkable that in Year 4 we would play for the fourth seed in the best league in the country, And then considering all that’s transpired this season, to have played the way that we’ve played over the last nine games, it’s scarred my heart in a good way.” -Buzz -kaleidoscope- Williams-
- Whispers say that J.Rob’ is a
scratchhere. He is outta his walking boot. The vibes say he has been light shooting just testing/checking it out. May St.Servatius, bless.
- The Hokies -oddly enough- are a .555 team sans “5” mind yah.
- Miami is a very small team by A.c.c. standards right now with bucu frontcourt dings, dents, hurts, and outright injuries (Coach God Bless!)
- “We had the scout team with our managers and the walk-ons just run through stuff and no one shoot because we didn’t want anybody else to get hurt. Looking at last year when we practiced 93 times up until the end of the season, this year (we practiced) 75. So, 18 days we took off.” -Coach Jim Larranaga-
- The Hokies’ L @Tally was the first time since Nov. 27, 2018 A.D., that they did not win after leading at halftime. Dangnation!
- Miami leads the all-time series 22-15 after winning nine of the last 12 matchups.
Other than Clemson, Miami has basically beaten nobody that will run post-season this/that inside the A.c.c.
As their other triumphs have come against: Pitt, Georgia Tech, Wake and Notre Dame. i.e. the bottom-quad or hind-4 as 2019 Atlantic Coast Clubs go with none of them any better than three games south of .5oo as I type.
That’s not good and neither is missing a post-season when most preview magazine peeps had you pegged to be right on the 9th/10th mean, median, mode; or more or less tabbed as being a C.B.I. to perhaps even an N.I.T. issue team later on in March.
The Hokies should win this one, rain is still rumored to be wet and yet if my aunt Kim had nutz and a bolt she’d be my uncle… Tim.
As we/VeeTee are an astounding +7 on R&R in the last fortnight of play and that *should* equate to fresher-legs, @home, for a buncha finesse oriented type touch-players or shooters. As da U has slipped a little bit on their defense of the 3 of late, and our Hokies are due to shoot better and break out of what has been a heretofore unpublished 28.3% mini-me funk in our last five contests from range.
What better place is there to do that than during your last game @home?
And what with a +20% home/away 3-point shooting margin and shooting margin overall splits both
in your favor, technically speaking —now would be a twine-tickling good time.
(72% confidence interval)
Virginia Tech=76, Miami=6o