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NC State opens league play on the road at Miami

Loyola v Miami Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Miami has a good team this season, but it’s hardly vintage Jim Larranaga—the Hurricanes have been gutted by graduation and guys leaving early for the pros. There’s only so much re-stocking possible in college basketball, especially when you are Miami and also especially especially when you lose kids early to the draft.

Miami won 22 games last year and finished 37th in the Pomeroy Ratings. Miami currently sits at 8-4 and 56th. The Canes are good, but not up to recent standards. They are good enough to make a run at the NCAAs. Whether or not they get there, in this league, is anybody’s guess.

The U is a case in precision, or rather balance, as the Canes rank 63rd in both offensive and defensive efficiency.

As you might expect, defections are taking a toll, and Miami is one of the thinnest teams in the country—they are 339th in bench minutes. Their first five can hurt you, but when they have to worry about waves of defenders, which State will surely make prominent, what’s the end result there?

Miami is led by undersized point guard Chris Lykes, who I think is walking into a trap. Lykes is a modest 34% three-point shooter, but to his credit, he’s near 50% on twos for his career. That ain’t an easy number to reach when you’re 5-7. [Insert height jokes here.]

The Canes will be in business if Lykes can finish effectively around the rim. If he doesn’t, they are probably sunk. I don’t imagine that he will.

Larranaga, shrewd man that he is, has established a roster that can make threes and therefore makes opposing defenses worry. Miami can be a good-shooting team. That’s not been in doubt. Can Miami be a good-shooting team for 40 minutes, and if not, what is there to fall back on? They’re still figuring all that out.