The Miami Hurricanes men’s basketball season officially kicks off on Friday Nov. 9. The Stetson Hatters’ will be traveling to Coral Gables in what should be a relatively easy win for the ‘Canes. However, following Miami’s exhibition loss to St. Leo’s, anything is possible in college basketball.
Following the upset, Miami head coach Jim Larranaga told ESPN, ” I believe our guys learned that we have a heck of a lot of work ahead of us before we become the kind of team we’re capable of becoming.”
Miami certainly has high expectations going into the 2012-13 season. The ‘Canes were picked to finish fourth among the ACC and will seek to improve upon their 20-13 record from last season. They return 10-of-12 lettermen, including senior F Reggie Johnson. Johnson (6-10, 292) missed the first nine games of last season due to a knee injury and will go into his senior season healthier than ever. During his rehabilitation, Johnson is said to have dropped down to a lean, 290 pounds, adding mostly muscle to his once hefty body.
Miami failed to make it to the big dance last year, instead playing in the NIT where they were knocked out in the second round. Stetson is coming off of a 9-20 season and head coach Casey Alexander is excited to get things rolling. Alexander told gohatters.com, “There’s a lot of hard work that goes into getting ready for a season, and we’re at the end of preseason where we’ve had a lot of practices, so if you’re a basketball fan or a basketball player, it’s a fun time. We’re certainly excited.”
In regards to kicking off their season with Miami, Alexander said, “They’re a much better opponent than I would want to open the season with…They are a legitimate borderline Top 25 team. They’re talking about the NCAA Tournament, and they should be…When you know that they’re talented, they have size, and now they have experience as well, it’s a tall task for our team.”
Here’s how the two teams fared during the the 2011-12 season, per ESPN:
Points Per Game – 77th Overall (72.0)
Rebounds Per – 71st (36.5)
Assists Per Game – 38th (15)
Field Goal Percentage – 138th (.441)
Points Per Game – 97th (71.2)
Rebounds Per – 137th (35.1)
Assists Per Game – 252nd (11.9)
Field Goal Percentage – 187th (.432)
When: Friday Nov. 9, 5:30 PM ET
Where: Coral Gables, Fla.
Television: ESPN 3
Sources: gohatters.com, ESPN