Miami (FL) Men's Basketball 2012 NIT Capsule

Miami Hurricanes
Atlantic Coast Conference (19-12, 9-7)

Frank Haith coached Miami for seven rather unsuccessful seasons. His teams reached the NCAA Tournament just once, in 2007-2008. Prior to this season, he departed for Missouri and, much to Hurricanes fans’ chagrin, is a Coach of the Year candidate. In comes the mid-major man himself, Jim Larranaga. Fresh off another NCAA Tourney berth and memories of George Mason’s trip to the Final Four in 2006 still in people’s minds, Miami was hoping Larranaga could do something for them that Haith never could: bring consistency and competitiveness to one of the most top-heavy conferences in the nation. Even though the Hurricanes are still a roster of Haith recruits, there is no doubt Jim Larranaga’s first season at The U has been a successful step in the right direction.

Big Wins: 12/3 Massachusetts (83-75), 2/5 at Duke (78-74), 2/26 Florida State (78-62)
Bad Losses: 11/25 at Mississippi (61-64), 1/22 North Carolina State (73-78), 2/21 at Maryland (70-75)
Coach: Jim Larranaga (1 season at Miami)

Why They Can Surprise:
Big man Reggie Johnson missed the first nine games of the season. In those contests, Miami went just 5-4, although their out-of-conference slate was not easy this season. Since his return, the Hurricanes have solidly been one of the better teams in the conference, although not on that top tier with Duke and Carolina. Miami’s overtime win at Duke in fact came, in large part, due to Reggie Johnson’s performance. The junior center shot 11 for 17 from the floor for 27 points, and grabbed 12 rebounds, including eight offensive boards. Although he is not able to play 30 minutes a night, Miami is a different team with a healthy and active Reggie Johnson in the lineup. Teamed with veteran guard Durand Scott and a coming-out season by Kenny Kadji, the Hurricanes present a large and imposing front line that could spell disaster for opposing teams lacking size or strength inside. Both Johnson and Kadji score in double figures and shoot close to 50% from the floor, presenting a matchup nightmare for pretty much anyone outside of Chapel Hill.

Why They Can Disappoint:
With the strength of Miami on the interior, their guard play has been rather spotty this season. Although Durant Scott has been pretty consistent with his career averages shooting and has cut down on his turnovers a bit, senior point guard Malcolm Grant has struggled all year long. Putting up career lows in field goal percentage and shooting dreadfully from behind the arc, Grant has also tallied his worst assist numbers since he transferred from Villanova after his freshman season. His scoring has also taken a precipitous drop from the first nine games of the season. Whether coincidentally coinciding with Reggie Johnson’s return or not, Grant has not been reliable since Miami started focusing their offense on their big men. In the end, when summarizing a team’s season and postseason chances, it helps to focus on their toughest games. However, with Miami losing a vast majority of these contests it is easier to mark them as not a great team rather than a battled-tested group.

Probable Starters:
Malcolm Grant, Senior, Guard, 11.3 ppg, 1.9 apg
Durand Scott, Junior, Guard, 12.9 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 3.1 apg
Shane Larkin, Freshman, Guard, 7.3 ppg, 2.6 apg
Kenny Kadji, Junior, Forward, 12.3 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.7 bpg
Reggie Johnson, Junior, Center, 10.1 ppg, 7.2 rpg

Key Roleplayers:
Trey McKinney Jones, Junior, Guard, 6.9 ppg, 3.5 rpg
DeQuan Jones, Senior, Forward, 6.0 ppg, 3.8 rpg
Rion Brown, Sophomore, Guard, 6.5 ppg, 2.6 rpg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 71.8 (87th in nation, 4th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 66.7 (170, 7)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.6 (157, 6)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.9 (116, 7)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.7 (53, 2)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 35.7 (102, 3)
Free-Throw Percentage: 72.3 (69, 2)
Rebound Margin: -0.1 (188, 9)
Assists Per Game: 12.1 (232, 6)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.9 (44, 2)

Last Five Postseason Appearances:
Miami        2011    NIT        First Round win over Florida Atlantic
Miami        2011    NIT        Second Round win over Missouri State
Miami        2011    NIT        Quarterfinal loss to Alabama
Miami        2009    NIT        First Round win over Providence
Miami        2009    NIT        Second Round loss to Florida   
Miami        2008    NCAA     Round of 64 win over St. Mary's
Miami        2008    NCAA     Round of 32 loss to Texas
Miami        2006    NIT        First Round win over Oklahoma State
Miami        2006    NIT        Second Round win over Creighton
Miami        2006    NIT        Quarterfinal loss to Michigan
Miami        2005    NIT        First Round loss to South Carolina

*all team stats through 3/4

See All Men’s Basketball Postseason Capsules