University of Miami coach Larranaga congratulates guard Brown during the first half of their second round NCAA basketball game against Pacific University in Austin

Miami’s Jim Larrañaga named Naismith Men’s Coach of the Year

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While Michigan’s Trey Burke has won the majority of the major National Player of the Year awards the same can be said of Miami’s Jim Larrañaga in regards to the national Coach of the Year honors.

Larrañaga added another trophy to the collection Sunday, as it was announced by the Atlanta Tipoff Club that he was the winner of the 2013 Naismith Men’s Coach of the Year award.

Larrañaga, in his second season at the ACC school, led the Hurricanes to a 29-7 record (15-3 ACC) and its first conference title (both regular and postseason) as a member of the conference. Miami reached the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2000, falling to Marquette in an East Region semifinal.

The other finalists for the award were Jim Crews (Saint Louis), Mark Few (Gonzaga) and John Thompson III (Georgetown).

“It is humbling and really an honor to receive a national award like this, especially, in the name of the founder of our game, Dr. James Naismith,” Coach Larrañaga said in a statement.

“I greatly appreciate the recognition by the Atlanta Tipoff Club, its membership and its voting academy to select me because there are so many great college coaches in the country. This really is a team award that represents a lot of hard work by my staff and our players.”

Miami’s rotation featured five seniors so there will be plenty of work to do in 2013-14. And with there being questions as to whether or not sophomore point guard Shane Larkin will enter the NBA Draft, building on this season’s success would be even tougher if Larkin were to leave.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

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.