CORAL GABLES, FL - DECEMBER 06: Head coach Jim Larranaga of the Miami Hurricanes yells from the bench during a game against the Memphis Tigers at the BankUnited Center on December 6, 2011 in Coral Gables, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
I was contacted by the guys at Category 6 about a Q and A for tomorrow's Miami game. So be sure to check them out for my answers to their questions, which should be posted sometime tonight or tomorrow morning. This Q and A will serve as the preview for the game. I'll post a gamethread tomorrow before tip. (tip is at 7)
STS: The Hurricanes are coached by former George Mason coach Jim Larranaga. Just how did Miami lure him away from George Mason? How did that process play out? Why did he stay at George Mason for years after the Final Four run only to abruptly leave for Miami? What are your thoughts on Larranaga's first year on the job?
Category 6: Many of the talking heads thought Miami was going to take a chance on Frank Martin and a few other candidates and Larranaga's name came out of left field. It was a pretty abrupt hire as there was not much talk about Larranaga in the media. The Miami job was a definite raise for Larranaga and there were whispers he butted heads with the GM AD. Larranaga also felt that the 'Canes were ready for the dance.
STS: The Hurricanes are 7-1 at home but just 1-5 in true road games. Are the Canes playing much better at home than on the road? Or is the difference in home and road records more due to the fact that the Canes seem to be playing all the good teams on its schedule on the road?
Category 6: The 'Canes have played better at home, but you nailed it. The 'Canes have played some good teams on the road. Injury to C Reggie Johnson and suspension of DeQuan Jones left the 'Canes short-handed early. It's likely the 'Canes would have prevailed in a couple of those close road losses.
STS: Who are some of the key guys on this Miami roster? Whose play has surprised you this year? Are there any guys that are underperforming?
Category 6: Kenny Kadji, a skilled face-up 4 and true freshman Shane Larkin have been the biggest surprises this year. Kadji has been the 'Canes best player of late. Reggie Johnson, Durand Scott and Malcolm Grant are also key to the 'Canes success. Johnson in particular is a difficult match-up inside for anyone. Senior Malcolm Grant has had a rough season and is not playing at the level of a preseason 1st team All-ACC player. He's too good of a shooter to stay down long, so Clemson and some home-cooking might be what the doctor ordered.
STS: You guys are sitting at 0-2 in the ACC following road losses to Virginia and UNC. What are your expectations for the Canes in the ACC this year?
Category 6: The 0-2 record doesn't change the fact that the ACC is wide open this year. It would have been nice for the 'Canes to pull out a win against Virginia in a last-possession game, but an 0-2 start was a realistic possibility based on their early draw. The expectations are still for Miami to contend for a spot in the NCAA Tournament. 10-6 in the ACC isn't out of the question.
STS: Most Clemson fans are not familiar with the BankUnited Center or the atmosphere at Miami basketball games. How is the basketball fan base for the U? What's the student section like?
Category 6: Miami is a football school but with some more success, the basketball program can build a stronger fan-base and hopefully pack the BUC. The atmosphere is great when the stands are full, but that doesn't happen too often. We started Category 6 to help spark an interest in 'Canes basketball. The student section was great against Memphis - hopefully the BUC will be somewhat filled on Wednesday night. It's a small, but great place to watch a game. Not much noise though, unless an elite team rolls through town.