Miami's Jim Larranaga addressed the media this morning on the ACC Coaches Teleconference, and a number of subjects were discussed.
Coach L started out talking about playing better down the stretch and closing out games more efficiently, noting the team played well in the final 5 minutes against Georgia Tech, a drastic improvement of the FSU game.
Coach Larranaga surprised many when he said he had never seen red hot F Donnavan Kirk play before he came back to UM via DePaul and practiced on campus. But Coach L noted, "I liked his size and athleticism."
"The staff is learning his offensive game better in order to help him get better looks."
It seems to be working as Kirk has averaged 17.5 ppg the last two contests and is shooting 77% from the floor.
On his team's offense,
"We're not a high octane team. Last year our goal was to get to 75 points a game. This year we have one guy averaging double figures, we do not have a lot of experienced players scoring the ball."
The 'Canes are averaging just 62.4 points per game.
Tempo will be a focus against Duke Wednesday Night. Miami is dead last in tempo, based on kenpom.com, whereas Duke is near the top.
On the team's overall improvement, he credited on the court chemistry.
Coach L next discussed the defense, saying that it is zone with a lot of man to man principles, and that some of the freshmen even asked if it was zone or man to man when they first implemented it.
Another ACC Coach acknowledged that whatever is being taught in Coral Gables, it is working wonders.
Syracuse's Jim Boeheim later payed UM the ultimate compliment, stating:
"Since they switched to the match up zone they could have won every game.. they are as good defensively if not better then any team in our conference."
All the more reason Miami might just have a chance to pull an upset or two this week when they face the ultra talented Duke Blue Devils (Wednesday 7:30PM ESPN2) and Boeheim's Orange (Saturday 1PM CBS).
Stay tuned for more updates.