Wednesday, February 27, 2013

College notebook: Miami not overlooking last-place Hokies

Miami head coach Jim Larranaga canceled all media interviews for his players after the Hurricanes' lost at Wake Forest.

Associated Press

Miami head coach Jim Larranaga canceled all media interviews for his players after the Hurricanes' lost at Wake Forest.

Virginia Tech Hokies basketball

Berman Courtside

Men’s basketball today

Virginia Tech at No. 5 Miami 7 p.m. at BankUnited Center

Records: Tech (12-15, 3-11 ACC), Miami (22-4, 13-1)

TV: My19 (WDBJ Digital 7.2), CSN overflow Ch. 453 on Dish, CSN overflow Ch. 657 on DirecTV, (Internet), same-day tape at 10 p.m. on CSN

Last meeting: Miami won 73-64 at Tech on Jan. 30.

Va. Tech probable starters: F C.J. Barksdale (5.2 ppg), C Cadarian Raines (7 ppg), G Erick Green (25.2 ppg), G Will Johnston (2.4 ppg) and either G Marquis Rankin (2.8 ppg) or G Robert Brown (8.7 ppg)

Miami probable starters: F Kenny Kadji (12.7 ppg), C Julian Gamble (6.7 ppg), G Trey McKinney Jones (9 ppg), G Shane Larkin (13.1 ppg), G Durand Scott (13.3 ppg).

Notes: Tech led last month’s meeting 32-29 at halftime. … Rankin missed most of the second half of Sunday’s win over FSU because he was sick, but he returned to practice Monday. … Johnston had three steals Sunday. … Miami backup center Reggie Johnson averages 9.1 points and 7.9 rebounds. … Larkin was one of 30 players named to the watch list Tuesday for the Naismith national player of the year award. Green was not. … Miami is coming off an 80-65 loss at Wake. “We didn’t defend very hard,” UM coach Jim Larranaga said. “We were a step slow.” … Brown was 4 of 8 from the field Sunday, his second-best shooting percentage of the ACC season. “When he plays well, we’ve got a chance,” Tech coach James Johnson said. … Despite Jarell Eddie’s shooting woes of late, Eddie and Green are still the highest-scoring duo in the ACC (37.6 ppg).

The Miami men's basketball team has a big game at Duke on Saturday, but don't count on the Hurricanes looking past Virginia Tech tonight.

The fifth-ranked Hurricanes (22-4, 13-1 ACC), who will host the last-place Hokies tonight, are coming off their first loss of 2013. In the wake of his team's defeat at Wake Forest, Miami coach Jim Larranaga canceled media interviews with his players until further notice.

"It didn't really have to do with the loss. It had to do with, we haven't had a chance to spend enough time with our team with all the interviews that they've been doing," Larranaga said. "Teams are starting to really gang up on some of our players and do certain things defensively to us, and it takes some time to prepare our team.

"The most important thing is for our team to stay focused and get ready for the next game, and my staff needed time to spend with some guys, watching some video."

Miami won last month's meeting 73-64 despite 30 points from Erick Green.

"I don't think we defended him at all in the first game," Larranaga said with a laugh. "We need to do a much better job defensively. And that's one of the reasons why our coaches need to spend some time breaking down video with the players, because the players need to see that. We really have not had time to do that, so hopefully we'll be much better prepared this time."

Green (25.2 ppg) is one of the contenders for ACC player of the year, along with Miami's Shane Larkin and Duke's Mason Plumlee.

"Shane is a huge part of our team, ... but I could see people voting for [UM's] Durand Scott or [UM's] Kenny Kadji because ... without them, we're not where we are," Larranaga said. "You look at Mason Plumlee and [Duke's] Seth Curry, one without the other is not going to be nearly as effective.

"Erick is in a different situation, where he is the primary scorer. He actually produces enough points for two players. When you score 25, that's like someone getting 14 and [another] 11 - that's normally the leading scorer and the second-leading scorer on a good team."

Larkin had 25 points and five 3-pointers in the first meeting, sometimes taking advantage of screens set by center Reggie Johnson.

"We'll try to see if we can't contain him a little bit better," Tech coach James Johnson said. "He stepped behind the ball screens and shot them deep. ... Reggie started what I call blocking instead of screening, like they do out there for Frank [Beamer, the Tech football coach]."

Tech (12-15, 3-11) is hoping for another good game from power forward C.J. Barksdale. After scoring a total of 21 points in a nine-game span, he rang up 14 points against Duke last week and had 17 points in last weekend's win over Florida State.

"Coach has been on me, telling me just to play confident, ... don't worry about making mistakes," Barksdale said.

Johnson said the return of backup Marshall Wood has helped because Barksdale is now able to get some rest during games.

Tech could use more production from forward Jarell Eddie. He is shooting just 24.4percent from the field in the past six games.

For the third time in four games, walk-on Will Johnston started in place of Eddie last weekend.

"It makes me work harder. I want my spot. I do want to be in that starting lineup," Eddie said.

My19 adds Tech game

Area viewers will be able to watch the Tech-Miami game on live TV after all.

My19 (WDBJ Digital 7.2) arranged Tuesday to air the game live at 7 p.m., filling a void created by a CSN decision Monday. My19 will air the Hokies instead of the Maryland-Georgia Tech game.

The Hokies game was originally scheduled to be televised live on CSN's overflow channels, CSN Plus and Comcast Network.

But the regular CSN channel will now air tonight's Washington Capitals game, which originally had been scheduled to air only on NBC Sports Network. That pushes the Washington Wizards game from CSN over to CSN Plus/Comcast Network, and relegates the Hokies to a taped broadcast at 10 p.m. on the regular CSN channel.

CSN will show the Hokies live on its satellite overflow channels - Dish Network Ch. 453 and DirecTV Ch. 657. The taped broadcast will still be on CSN at 10 p.m.

Also Tuesday, the blackout in Virginia of the live broadcast of the Hokies game was lifted. So viewers around the commonwealth will now be able to see tonight's game live on the Internet.

Impressive stat line

Marist's Chavaughn Lewis had 30 points, 16 rebounds, six assists, five steals and one block in his team's 112-74 win over VMI last weekend. According to ESPN, he is the first DivisionI player with that statistical line since the 1996-97 season.

Catching up with ...

Rockbridge County graduate Jeff Early of Southern Illinois ranks 13th in the Missouri Valley Conference in scoring (12.6 ppg) and fourth in rebounding (7.4 rpg).

-- Radford High School graduate Maryah Sydnor of Appalachian State ranks fifth in the Southern Conference in scoring (15.3 ppg), third in field-goal percentage (48.8 percent) and second in free-throw percentage (91.4 percent).

-- Christiansburg graduate Daniella Motley of Wofford ranks 13th in the SoCon in scoring (12.7 ppg) and second in rebounding (9.4 rpg).

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