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Previewing Miami

2008 Scouting Report / 2008 Game Plan
2008 Schedule
2008 Roster

Miami Offense 07-08Four FactorsPercentNat'l RankeFG%49.7183Turnover Rate19.245Off Reb Rate38.238FTM/FGA30.328

The Hurricanes were the worst road team in conference play last season, mainly because their offense was significantly less efficient away from Coral Gables:

Road OFF_EFF: 96.3 (11th worst road offense)
Home OFF_EFF: 115.4 (3rd best home offense)

In order to put themselves in position to make the NCAA tournament in 2008, Miami needed to drastically improve its defense and find a way to score on the road. They maybe possibly have accomplished the former, but we won't know about the latter for a while.

The off-season saw Miami lose both of its point guards. Anthony Harris, regrettably, ran out of eligibility; Denis Clemente transferred to Kansas State, where he'll be free to smoke as much pot as he wants. As a result, Frank Haith had to shift Jack McClinton from his comfy shooting guard role to the point. What happens when a player moves from SG to PG? Usually something along the lines of what's happened to McClinton:

 Ast% TO%
2007 (SG) 14.2 17.8
2008 (PG) 23.4 25.7

His '08 numbers are passable, but I have to wonder how they'll hold up as the team plays through the conference slate considering the relatively weak schedule the Canes have played thus far. The problem gets serious behind McClinton; Miami's backup options at point guard include a freshman and a juco transfer, neither of whom are playing well.

Starters:

Jack McClinton (6-1, 185) -- While the assist and turnover portions of profile have changed along with his role, he's otherwise the same player he was a year ago. He rarely grabs a rebound, doesn't play particularly good defense, doesn't get to the line. His shooting has been unsustainably good and will slide plenty in conference play, just as it did in 2007.

James Dews (6-3, 198) -- Dews has been a huge pleasant surprise, and both his minutes and his role in the offense have increased a lot. But considering his limited track record--and how far he's diverged from it in '08--he remains an unknown.

Brian Asbury (6-7, 215) -- Proved himself an efficient scorer from inside the arc during his breakout last season, and he's carried that forward into 2008. Like every forward on this roster, he is an offensive rebounding threat.

Jimmy Graham (6-8, 245) -- Starts frequently but tends to be the odd man out in a crowded front court. In limited action over the last two years, he's rebounded well and blocked a lot of shots. Turnovers are a problem.

Anthony King (6-9, 242) -- King, now in his 12th season with the Hurricanes, isn't quite back to where he was prior to the injury that ended his 2007 season, but I suspect his return has been a big reason for Miami's defensive resurgence. His shooting is down in '08, which I don't think is much of a concern--he has been an efficient scorer throughout his career, and he'll come around. What hasn't dropped off is his rebounding, which is excellent at both ends. He also blocks a lot of shots.

Bench:

Dwayne Collins (6-8, 232), Eddie Rios (6-0, 193), Ray Hicks (6-7, 238), and Lance Hurdle (6-2, 180) round out the rotation.

Rios and Hurdle have assist rates comparable to McClinton's, but both have been somewhat offensively challenged (to put it gently). Hurdle is going to come around, I think, and that'll be a nice boost to the back court when it happens.

Dwayne Collins is the best offensive rebounder in the ACC--with an OR% north of 15%, he is averaging 6.1 OR/40 minutes.


Miami Defense 07-08Four FactorsPercentNat'l RankeFG%43.917Turnover Rate21.2202Off Reb Rate33.0161FTA/FGA30.573

In 2007, injuries along the front line turned what had been Miami's biggest defensive strength (interior defense) into a liability. That coupled with their traditionally poor perimeter defense made for an epic disaster--a defense that gave up an average 117 pts/100 poss to conference foes. Historically bad, that.

 Opp2FG% Opp3FG%
2005 46.6 36.2
2006 44.2 37.0
2007 51.8 38.3
2008 42.1 31.6

They're mediocre in the TO% and defensive rebounding areas, so the big question is, can they continue to force enough misses? While the interior defense should be fine as long as they stay healthy, they've never displayed an ability to slow down opponents' outside shooting. It could be that this is a house of cards on the brink of collapse, and if that happens, they'll come up short of the NCAAs.

Pomeroy has Miami by three; I've got them by six.