With College Basketball set to start this week, I projected the final ACC standings and use them to preview each team. Each preview will include the same set-up and my reasoning for picking them where I did. As always, feel free to leave comments or tweet me with your thoughts on each team.
After a stellar 2012-2013 season for the Miami Hurricanes, they now find themselves in a rebuilding situation. Last year the Hurricanes pummeled the ACC to their first ACC regular season and tournament championship. However, coach Jim Larranaga now finds his team barren following the departure of ACC Player of the Year Shane Larkin, and five other top players from last years team.
Shane Larkin 14.5 ppg 3.8 rpg 4.6 apg
Durand Scott 13.1 ppg 4.0 rpg 2.6 apg
Kenny Kadji 12.9 ppg 6.8 rpg 0.8 apg
Trey Mckinney Jones 9.2 ppg 3.4 rpg 1.6 apg
Reggie Johnson 6.7 ppg 7.0 rpg 0.8 apg
Julian Gamble 6.5 ppg 4.9 rpg 0.2 apg
Rion Brown – Guard: 6.4 ppg 2.0 rpg 0.8 apg 36.7% FG 29.2% 3PT
Davon Reed – 4* SG
Manu Lecomte – 3* PG
James Kelly – 3*
Donnavan Kirk – DePaul transfer 6.2 ppg 3.9 rpg (2012-2013 season)
While Jim Larranaga did a phenomenal job last season, this year he finds himself in a tough spot. Miami brought in a strong class, but it is tough to ask them to replace the players that Miami lost from season. For as good as last season was for Miami fans, this year will be a struggle. There will be growing pains for the new players, which should make it difficult for Miami to stay competitive in the deeper ACC.
Their best case scenario is that the freshmen quickly step up and begin to fill the void left by the players who left, and maybe catch a couple ACC teams off guard. Home games against Duke, Syracuse, and Notre Dame will give this young team a chance to make a statement to the rest of the conference that they will be a major player in the next couple of seasons. Given how good of a coach Larranaga has proven to be, this isn’t outside the realm of possibility.
The more likely scenario, though, is also the worst case for them. They struggle to overcome freshmen woes, and are are overwhelmed by a schedule that also includes road games to Virginia, Syracuse, and North Carolina. Last year they caught teams off guard and also angered some of the traditional powerhouses in the ACC with their gritty, defensive-minded play. Teams like North Carolina and Duke won’t soon forget that, and will be looking to get revenge this year. Given that they’re all reloaded, that’s probably going to happen.
Prediction: (2-14) – 15th Place
Miami’s non-conference schedule is weak, with games against UCF and Nebraska in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Once they get into conference play, the schedule becomes much tougher. I’m erring on the side of this team struggling to get into a groove with so many new players coming together in a tough conference. All spells rebuilding year for the Hurricanes.