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ACC Basketball Preview: Miami

Quick Facts

Record: 18-16, 7-9 in the ACC
ACC Regular Season Finish: Tied for 7th
ACC Tournament Result: Lost in Quarterfinals
NCAA Tournament Result: None. Lost in NIT 3rd round

Players and Coaches

Head Coach: Frank Haith, 2nd season, 34-29
Key Returnees: G Anthony Harris(9.5 ppg), F/C Anthony King(8.8 ppg), G Denis Clemente(5.5 ppg), F Jimmy Graham(1.8 ppg)
Preseason Rankings
Poll Rankings: None
ACC Preseason Poll: 11th


Last season, Miami was surprisingly good with Guillemero Diaz and Robert Hite forming a productive guard combo which delivered a combined 33 points per game that brought the Hurricanes very close to the NCAA Tournament. This season those two pieces of the offensive puzzle have moved on and coach Frank Haith will rely heavily on seniors Anthony King and Anthony Harris and a stable full of freshmen and sophomores who will be pressed into service quickly. The two Anthonys will form a nice inside-out combination with the 6-9 King shouldering most of the load in the paint and Harris running the point for the first time since his freshman year. These two also account for most of the experience on a very young Miami squad. The only other players on the roster who have seen significant time are guard Denis Clemente and Jimmy Graham, a 6-8 forward. Outside of that it's anyone's guess. The loss of Diaz and Hite means Haith has to find a perimeter game likely among his freshman and sophomore guards along with the senior Harris. The past two recruiting classes have basically been comprised of players ranked in the lower half of the top 100 which means they have potential to be solid players. However being relatively inexperienced, Miami will find a rough go of it in the ACC, though Haith is a very good coach and should maximize the talent he has in house. Miami's out-of-conference schedule is the usual slate of weaker teams which is fine because Miami itself is a weak team. They do travel to Louisville, Nebraska, and UMass but the Cardinals are the only team in that stretch worthy anything. The ACC schedule...well it is what it is...although Miami only has to play one of the predicted top four twice in Boston College.

THF Prediction

In short I think Miami is facing a rather large chasm in terms of experience and talent versus the rest of the conference. This does not mean they will not surprise a few people here and there by getting production from players who are really just unknown commodities at this point. That being said, Miami is still facing a rather large chasm in terms of experience and talent. That is very hard to overcome in the ACC especially for a program with little established basketball pedigree.

Prediction: 13-15 overall, 4-12 in the ACC for 11th place