Miami ended the 2013-2014 season with a 17-16 (7-11 ACC). That’s not bad when you consider the Hurricanes lost six of their top seven scorers from the previous season in which they won the ACC regular season and tournament titles.
Head coach Jim Larranaga has retooled his roster to make a move up the conference standings this season. On Saturday, Miami won its first game on its educational and competitive tour of Spain with a 79-68 victory over Eurocolegio Casvi. Leading the way were two new additions for Miami this season, transfer Sheldon McClellan and freshman point guard Ja’Quan Newton. The guard tandem scored 17 apiece, shooting a combined 13 of 22 from the field.
Newton, a four-star point guard was rated as the No. 37 overall recruit in the Class of 2014, according to Rivals. The Philadelphia product committed to the Hurricanes last August, joining a pair of impact transfer guards on the Miami perimeter. The 6-foot-5 McClellan sat out last season after he transferred from Texas after two seasons. As as sophomore he averaged 13.5 points per game, second on the team. Alongside McClellan last season was fellow transfer Angel Rodriguez. The former Kansas State point guard enrolled at Miami to be closer to his family in the area. He averaged 11.4 points and 5.2 assists per game for the Wildcats as a sophomore in the 2012-2013 season.
Rodriguez did not play on Saturday due to an injury.
Miami will need that trio to play well, especially in a conference filled with talented guards such as Louisville’s Chris Jones and Terry Rozier, North Carolina’s Marcus Paige, Duke’s perimeter attack, Virginia’s Malcolm Brogdon and London Perrantes and Notre Dame’s Jerian Grant and Pat Connaughton.
The Hurricanes open the season on Nov. 17, renewing the rivalry with Florida.
Zak Irvin scored 22 points and Michigan’s outmanned front line held Purdue’s redwoods to just seven offensive boards, six second chance points and just 22 points in the paint as the Wolverines landed a critical, 61-56, win over the No. 18 Boilermakers.
Depending on who you listen to, Michigan entered the day, at worst, on the bubble and at best, in headed for the 8-9 game.
And they picked up a top 25 win.
So yes, this win was big for them moving forward.
But more important than the win itself was that Wolverine fans got a glimpse of all-american guard Caris LeVert. He played just 11 points and didn’t return in the second half, he didn’t score and he missed the only shot that he took, but LeVert took the court for the first time since Dec. 30th. That day, LeVert rolled his left ankle and most likely reinjured a foot that had had a broken bone surgically repaired twice in the last 20 months. Michigan never confirmed what the actual injury was and never gave a timetable for when he would be back in the lineup, which is what made his brief appearance so important.
LeVert isn’t done for the season.
And since the Wolverines managed to post a 9-4 Big Ten record with LeVert acting as little more than a spectator, they have a chance to make a run in the Big Ten tournament and get into the NCAA tournament.
That will happen with LeVert in the rotation and, if all goes according to plan, the starting lineup.
So even with a loss against Purdue, the Wolverines had a good day. Bolstering their NCAA tournament profile was an added bonus.
VIDEO: Memphis’ Shaq Goodwin gets technical foul for copying famous Vince Carter dunk
Memphis senior forward Shaq Goodwin picked up one of the dumbest technical fouls of the season on Saturday with the Tigers on the road against Tulane. Goodwin attempted to copy Vince Carter’s famous arm-in-the-rim dunk from the 2000 NBA dunk contest. This would have been okay during pregame warmups, but Goodwin tried to pull this off on a breakaway near the end of the first half. He was quickly hit with the T for hanging on the rim.
Goodwin has good timing when it comes to current events, as the NBA’s dunk contest airs on Saturday night, but the timing of pulling this off in the first half of a tight conference game is not so great.
For past reference, here’s Carter’s original arm-in-the-rim dunk from 2000, which had everyone astonished since it had never been done before.