Jim Larranaga

Return to Verizon Center special for Miami’s Jim Larranaga (VIDEO)

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Miami coach Jim Larranaga has fond memories of the Verizon Center. It was the place that he notched wins in the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight during George Mason’s magical run to the Final Four in 2006. He now returns with a Hurricanes team that is looking to do the same.

“Coming into this building to them it’s just another venue,” Larranaga said, as reported by CSNWashington.com. “To me and my staff it’s not because we have the memory. They don’t. They want to create those memories for themselves and for this team.”

Miami will be at a disadvantage when it takes the floor against Marquette in the Sweet 16 in Washington, D.C., as center Reggie Johnson did not make the trip with the team due to a knee injury and subsequent knee surgery. But throughout the season the Hurricanes have shown that they can win at multiple paces, often getting out in transition to match a high-scoring team or slowing it down to play possession-by-possession against a defensive-oriented team.

We’ll see if Larranaga can find the magic again at the Verizon Center this time around. If he does, his Hurricanes will likely be in the Elite Eight.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Illinois’ injury woes continue as starting center needs knee surgery

George Niang,Abdel Nader,Mike Thorne, Jr.
AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser
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Illinois suffered another blow in what has already turned out to be a brutal season.

Mike Thorne is expected to miss the rest of the season after tearing his meniscus. He reportedly underwent surgery on Monday to repair the injury.

Thorne, a transfer from Charlotte, was starting at center for the Illini and doing a good job of it as well. He was averaging 13.4 points and 8.4 boards, although Illinois has started off the season 3-4.

The reason for that slow start has mainly been those injuries. Tracy Abrams is already out for the season after tearing his achilles, and the Illini training room looked like a M.A.S.H. unit. Kendrick Nunn just returned two games ago from surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament. LeRon Black is still getting back to speed after offseason knee surgery. Jaylon Tate is back after dislocating a finger. Jalen Coleman-Lands was slowed by a stress fracture.

John Groce entered this season on the hot seat, and dealing with all of these injuries certainly isn’t helping his cause.

NEW PODCAST: Recapping Feast Week

Kris Dunn
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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We talk about a lot of stuff of the podcast today, mainly because a lot of stuff happened since we last spoke with you all.

For starters, we need to discuss the ‘realness’ of Syracuse and Xavier. Are they both truly top 15 teams, or do they just have top 15 resumes? We also dive into Chris Mack’s epic troll-job of Dayton at the Advocare Invitational final.

Other topics we touched on: Whether or not Scott is ever going to apologize to Wayne Selden, Wichita State’s tournament hopes, Texas A&M and whether we’d take Ben Simmons, Kris Dunn or Denzel Valentine today.

As always, you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes right here. It’s the quickest way to get access on your cell phone or tablet.