I caught up with Jerry from Category 6 and asked him a few questions about the Miami Hurricanes, and fortunately managed not to ask him why I feel so sad these days. Ahem. No it's fine. It's fine. I'm cool. Among other things, Jerry asked me to select an NC State all-time team; my answers to his questions will be up on his site soon.
1.) Have there been any updates on the status of Reggie Johnson? Is there any chance that he'll be reinstated in time to play against NC State?
As of Monday evening we have not heard anything. Considering the precedent of similar cases we are hoping he is reinstated by Wednesday. It would certainly be a big boost to the team. According to Coach Larranaga Johnson had two very strong practices leading up to the FSU game, and has kept a positive attitude. If he does play we expect big things.
2.) What happened to Malcolm Grant's outside shooting? Three years over 40% from three-point range and this year he's south of 31%.
Malcolm lost his older brother in January at the tender age of 36. It has clearly affected him. But he has shown some signs of breaking out lately, and has remained an effective passer. Sleeping on Grant would be a big mistake.
3.) What's different about Miami under Jim Larranaga?
Technically speaking they have switched from a zone to man team, mixing in some half court traps (Larranaga's patented scramble). Offensively they are more efficient. Turnovers are down significantly from last year. But more then anything they have more confidence then previous year's teams. They have won close games that alluded them in past years (with the exception of Maryland). With all of the injuries/suspensions Miami has had to deal with this year, we feel like Larranaga has done an outstanding job. With one more victory they will best their previous high mark in the ACC of 8-8.
4.) What do the Hurricanes need to do differently to beat NC State this time around?
Guard Scott Wood and shoot the ball better then 2-20 on threes. NC State has a lot of talent, but Miami is deeper. Wood absolutely killed UM the last time these teams met. Rion Brown and Trey McKinney Jones need to stay at home and chase Wood around screens better then last time. And if Malcolm Grant can have the break out game he long overdue for it would certainly help their chance as well.