College Basketball Nation: Miami Hurricanes

3-point shot: A look at West Virginia, South Carolina and Miami

October, 14, 2014
Oct 14
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video
Andy Katz gives updates on West Virginia, South Carolina and Miami.

For the third time since the ACC/Big Ten Challenge began in 1999, more teams have been added to the mix. The battle for conference supremacy started with just nine games deciding the outcome back when that was the extent of ACC membership.

The league has ballooned to 15 teams and now that the Big Ten expanded too, a slate of 14 games over three consecutive nights from Dec. 1-3 will determine bragging rights.

The ACC was 6-0 when just nine teams played in the Challenge. It was 4-2 after ACC expansion and 11 teams played. Since going to 12 teams the Big Ten won once and the Challenge has ended in consecutive ties.

The ACC still holds an advantage winning 10 of the 15 meetings overall, but it has not won the Challenge since 2008.

Louisville (ACC) and Rutgers (Big Ten) will make their respective debuts in the Challenge this season. Clemson, Wake Forest and Virginia Tech did not participate last season for the ACC. Boston College will sit this one out this season.

As Maryland changes allegiances from ACC charter member to Big Ten expansion team, it becomes the Big Ten team with the most wins. The Terrapins have participated in every challenge and has a 10-5 record, and trails only Duke (13) for most Challenge wins. Five Big Ten teams (Illinois, Minnesota, Ohio State, Purdue, Wisconsin) are tied with seven wins in the series.

From top to bottom, here are the best matchups of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge:

1. Duke at Wisconsin: It just might be an early Final Four preview. On paper, both have the rosters that could be playing the final weekend of the season. The Badgers, led by center Frank Kaminsky, return most of the rotation that got Bo Ryan to his first Final Four during his Wisconsin tenure. Duke restocks with the No. 1 recruiting class led by center Jahlil Okafor and guard Tyus Jones. The Blue Devils were 0-4 versus top 10 teams away from home last season in a year that ended with a NCAA second round flameout against Mercer. Wisconsin will be an early test to see if Duke will write a different narrative this season.

2. Iowa at North Carolina: Expect a high-scoring game because the Hawkeyes and Tar Heels both want to run early and often. Forward Jarrod Uthoff and center Gabriel Olaseni give Iowa a formidable frontcourt duo that will put up points in Fran McCaffery’s system despite their roster losses from last season. The Hawkeyes have never won on the road (0-5) in the Challenge. UNC will be a much more athletic team than it was last season with the addition of freshmen Joel Berry, Theo Pinson and Justin Jackson. The game could offer a small bit of redemption back home for guard Marcus Paige, who is a Marion, Iowa, native, after the Heels were bounced by Iowa State in the NCAA tournament.

3. Ohio State at Louisville: The last time Thad Matta squared off against Rick Pitino, Xavier upset the Cardinals in the 2004 NCAA tournament en route to the Elite Eight. It was the run that helped Matta land the Buckeyes job. Matta will learn what he’s working with in an early road test for a young, but talented team. The game will also serve as a homecoming for Ohio State freshman guard D’Angelo Russell, a Louisville native, who had an offer from Louisville. Ironically, next season, the Cards will rely heavily on sophomore guard Terry Rozier, a Cleveland native, who is expected to have a breakout year with the departure of Russ Smith. Montrezl Harrell’s decision to return to school was like a recruiting coup for the Cards.

4. Virginia at Maryland: A new twist to an old rivalry. The two foes have literally played the past 100 years, and as ACC rivals the game had the exalted status of the final regular season game for the better part of the last four decades. It could easily be the most intense game of the Challenge since both teams know each other so well. The backcourt battle pitting Virginia’s London Perrantes and Malcolm Brogdon against Maryland’s Seth Allen and Dez Wells could determine the outcome.

5. Michigan State at Notre Dame: From 1908 to 1979 the Spartans and Irish had a healthy basketball rivalry, meeting 94 times. It’s the first meeting between the schools since MSU beat the Irish in the Elite Eight en route to its 1979 national championship. The Spartans bring back Branden Dawson, who considered turning pro. The Irish welcome back Jerian Grant, who withdrew from school at the start of conference play due to an “academic matter.”

6. Syracuse at Michigan: Think of how great this game would have been with guard Tyler Ennis and forward Jerami Grant still suiting up for the Orange and guard Nik Stauskas, forward Glenn Robinson III and center Mitch McGary playing for the Wolverines. Instead, they form an all-star lineup of NBA early entries. In a rematch of the 2013 Final Four game, only a combined five players (Syracuse: Rakeem Christmas, Trevor Cooney; Michigan: Spike Albrecht, Caris LeVert) remain who played in the game.

7. Nebraska at Florida State: If the Cornhuskers plan on improving on last season's NCAA appearance, they have to learn to win games like this. The Huskers were just 3-8 last season on the road and Tallahassee can be a tough place to play. The Seminoles missed the NCAA tournament last season due to several close nonconference losses, a trend they’ll need to reverse this season.

8. Pittsburgh at Indiana: The Panthers haven’t played the Hoosiers in Bloomington since 1941 and Pitt's experienced guards Cameron Wright and James Robinson won’t be intimidated by Assembly Hall. Noah Vonleh’s decision to turn pro possibly set IU back in its bid to rejoin the nation’s elite. But guard Yogi Ferrell and newcomer James Blackmon Jr. means the Hoosiers' cupboard isn’t bare.

9. Illinois at Miami: The Illini could be a darkhorse in league and an early road win could prove it. Guard Rayvonte Rice will be even harder to stop if he can improve his 3-point shooting from 29.5 percent last season. The Canes return just three players from last season, who accounted for just 15 percent of their scoring. Transfers Angel Rodriguez (Kansas State) and Sheldon McClellan (Texas) should make immediate impact for Miami.

10. Minnesota at Wake Forest: Guards Deandre Mathieu and Andre Hollins give Minnesota backcourt stability. The Deacons counter with their top duo of leading scorer Codi Miller-McIntyre and leading rebounder Devin Thomas, who should help Danny Manning make a smooth transition in his first season as coach.

11. Rutgers at Clemson: The Mack and Jack show is back for Rutgers. Myles Mack and Kadeem Jack were the top two scorers from last season and a formidable duo. Clemson returned everyone of impact except leading scorer and rebounder K.J. McDaniels. Guard Rod Hall will likely expand his scoring role after leading the Tigers in assists.

12. NC State at Purdue: The Boilermakers are the hottest team in the Challenge with five straight wins. Junior 7-footer A.J. Hammons gives Purdue a solid centerpiece to build around. NCSU has the monumental task of replacing 2014 ACC Player of the Year T.J. Warren. The Wolfpack's fortunes could rest with talented, yet erratic, point guard Anthony Barber.

13. Georgia Tech at Northwestern: Both teams hope to get a boost from guards lost to injury last season. Tech’s Travis Jorgenson played in just four games before tearing his ACL. Northwestern’s oft-injured guard JerShon Cobb, its leading scorer returning, missed the last five games with a foot injury. The Yellow Jackets have only won once on the road in the Challenge.

14. Virginia Tech at Penn State: The Nittany Lions return most of their rotation that lost eight games by five or fewer points. Senior guard D.J. Newbill, who led the team in scoring, is now the unequivocal leader with Tim Frazier gone. Buzz Williams begins Hokies rebuilding project with a good starting point -- guard Devin Wilson was on both the coaches and media all-ACC freshmen teams and ranked third in the league in assists.

Video: No. 2 Syracuse 49, Miami 44

January, 4, 2014
Jan 4
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No. 2 Syracuse improved to 14-0 on the season with a 49-44 victory over Miami.

3-point shot: Appling's mission

November, 15, 2013
11/15/13
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Andy Katz discusses John Calipari's message to his team and Frank Haith's suspension, and he asks Michigan State guard Keith Appling about a potential Final Four run.

ACC team previews

October, 23, 2013
10/23/13
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From Sept. 30 through Oct. 25, Insider will be rolling out its college basketball preview, including breakdowns on every Division I team, projected order of finish for every conference and essays from Insider's hoops experts.

Here are previews for each team in the ACC:

Boston College Eagles Insider
Clemson Tigers (free)
Duke Blue Devils Insider
Florida State Seminoles Insider
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Insider
Maryland Terrapins Insider
Miami Hurricanes Insider
North Carolina Tar Heels Insider
North Carolina State Wolfpack Insider
Notre Dame Fighting Irish Insider
Pittsburgh Panthers Insider
Syracuse Orange Insider
Virginia Cavaliers Insider
Virginia Tech Hokies Insider
Wake Forest Demon Deacons Insider

3-point shot: Uncertainty at Miami

September, 23, 2013
9/23/13
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1. Miami coach Jim Larranaga will teach five to six classes this semester as a guest lecturer. His topics will be on Teamwork and Leadership, much like he did at George Mason in the school of management Executive MBA Program. Larranaga's position on the Miami faculty gives him even more influence on campus. But he is still at the whim of the NCAA in awaiting an eligibility issue. The Hurricanes will start practice Friday but won't know if Kansas State transfer Angel Rodridguez will be eligible immediately. Larranaga said Sunday there is still no indication on when Rodriguez' case will be heard. But he can practice. If he can't play this season then the 'Canes will go with a freshman, either Manu Lecomte from Belgium or Deandre Burnett, as the point guard.

2. Missouri actually has a transfer who sat out last season and who will have a major impact after improving during his redshirt/transfer season. As practice nears Friday, Missouri coach Frank Haith is extremely high on former Tulsa wing Jordan Clarkson. Clarkson averaged 14.2 points a game for the Golden Hurricane and will be expected to score in a similar manner for the Tigers. "He's very talented, a good combo,'' said Haith Sunday. "He can do everything on the court. He'll get plenty (of minutes).'' The Tigers were looking for a fresh face to be a go-to scorer. Haith has fancied this team all summer, one that has received probably the least amount of buzz in his three seasons. That's usually when a team overachieves. If this occurs in a wide-open SEC from three on down then Clarkson will be likely one of the main reasons.

3. The package deal comments about coaches going with players to a school has been going on for years and in some form will continue for years to come. Let's get a few things straight. Staffs that are secure usually don't partake in such a practice. If there are assistants on a staff who are well compensated at a high-profile school then they are less likely to leave. So, these coaches don't need to go hire an assistant to get a player since they aren't going to have an opening on the staff. Some will be creative and do it anyway if the player is worth the trouble. But some have no choice but to act to have a chance for relevance. If Seton Hall goes ahead and hires Brooklyn Lincoln High (N.Y.) coach Tiny Morton to complete a deal to get Isaiah Whitehead as part of the recruitment then that's probably what Pirates coach Kevin Willard needed to do to get Seton Hall out of the cellar. He already had made positive moves on his staff by adding former Rutgers head coach and one-time Northwestern assistant in Freddie Hill, a mainstay in New Jersey. Getting St. Raymond's HS coach Oliver Antigua, a well-connected high school coach and brother of Kentucky assistant Orlando Antigua, made sense too. Willard is in the fourth quarter of his Hall career. He needs to make a play before its too late, especially in the new Big East. He's being proactive because what he was doing in the past, simply wasn't working well enough.

3-point shot: Memphis hopeful on Dixon

August, 27, 2013
8/27/13
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1. Memphis is hopeful that in the next two to three weeks it will know if Missouri transfer Michael Dixon is eligible to play for Memphis this season. Dixon was dismissed from Missouri last November before the season started and was not in school in the second semester. He was accused of sexual assault but no charges were filed, the second such instance where no charges were brought against him for a similar offense. Dixon didn't play last season, so he has a strong case to play this season based on the basics of sitting out and playing somewhere new. Technically, Dixon didn't sit out at Memphis for the year in residence, but he didn't play basketball at all last season. The NCAA has been loose with granting waivers and using a number of different scenarios to justify allowing players immediate eligibility. This will be an interesting test case if Dixon isn't allowed to play this season after not playing last season but also not sitting out at his new school. If Dixon is eligible at Memphis, he will enhance one of the deeper and most experienced backcourts in the country. The Tigers would have four high-level senior guards in Dixon, Joe Jackson, Geron Johnson and Chris Crawford. The only thing those four guards haven't done is advanced deep in the NCAA tournament.

2. Missouri coach Frank Haith was looking for some team-bonding, eye-opening experiences that would propel the Tigers into a new season. So Missouri headed to Camp Crowder, roughly 15 miles south of Joplin, Mo., to be with the Missouri National Guard. The team was split into three groups, led by Jabari Brown, Jordan Clarkson and Earnest Ross. The players and soldiers, in full gear, secured a compound with paint ball ammunition. The team then went on a 4.5-mile endurance hike while carrying 50-pound packs. Throughout the hike, they had to pick up extra gear and move it with them. The post-hike activities included shooting M16s from a foxhole. Haith participated with the players as well. These can be called gimmicks, but they do have a point. Missouri's players got to think of something greater than themselves and engaged with the National Guard, many of whom were Mizzou fans. Seeing Haith participate as well proves a point that he's in this with them and isn't shying away from the physical challenges. Coaches are always looking for motivational tools while also establishing connections with fans. These type of actions with fans who are also in the National Guard can be highly productive.

3. The committee on infractions still hasn't released its Miami report after hearing the largely football case in June. Haith, the former hoops coach at Miami, and two former assistant coaches did have to go in front of the committee as well on basketball matters. But a lawyer who represents coaches in NCAA cases on a regular basis said the NCAA's latest policy is to notify those who are involved in the case no earlier than 24 hours before the release of the report. Another source said that it would only be an hour or so prior to the release. The NCAA is not naive enough to think that the report won't get out once it releases the findings. So holding onto the final piece until the last possible minute makes sense for them. The NCAA is no rush, and while it could still happen later this week, the attorney didn't think it would be finished/released prior to Labor Day.

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