The last one of these to pump out, before the Monday morning hangover:
Last Year: The Hurricanes went 18-16, 7-9 in the ACC. This was good enough for three rounds of the NIT, Michigan finally ended their season. Miami managed this despite some of the worst shooting in the league, mainly with an impressive lack of turnovers. Their defensive stats were pretty poor, so their wins came mainly from slowing down the pace of the game and making the shots they must.
Comings and Goings: The engine of Miami's success last year was its backcourt, and they don''t live here anymore. Both Robert Hite (16.4 ppg, 5.8 rpg) and Guillermo Diaz (17.2 ppg, 2.9 apg) are irreplacable, and the biggest hurdle will be installing a new set of guards into the starting lineup. Big man Gary Hamilton (3.8 ppg, 5.4 rpg) has left as well.
The remaining starters are Anthony King (8.8 ppg, 6.9 rpg), a forward from Durham, and Denis Clemente (5.5 ppg, 2.1 apg) at shooting guard. These two will probably end up being the biggest scoring threats. The rest of the starting five will be filled in with last year's reserves - Anthony Harris (9.5 ppg, 3.1 apg) at point guard, Brian Asbury (1.0 ppg, 1.4 rpg) at small forward, and Jimmy Graham (1.8 ppg, 2.2 rpg) at power forward. All three are showing significant improvement from last year.
As for new faces, the important one is Jack McClinton, a transfer from Siena who was six-time rookie of the week in the MAAC during his one year there. Dwayne Collins in the paint and James Dews, who will probably see some time at reserve point guard.
The Outlook: It's poor. This team has already lost to Buffalo and Cleveland State this year alone - once their season hits the Louisville/Nebraska/UMass stretch their toast. The Hurricanes are rebuilding in a year where a lot of the ACC is excelling. Look for Miami to spend time in the basement.
Preseason Poll Finish: 11th.
- Carolina March Forecast: 11th, at 4-12. Everyone agrees!