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Scouting Miami

Miami (15-4, 1-4) will enter tomorrow night's game at Comcast Center riding a three-game losing streak. The Hurricanes fell at Virginia Tech by 15 and at Virginia by 18 before falling at home to Boston College by four last Tuesday. But the Hurricanes will have had a full week off to try to recover and make a few adjustments.

"We had a tough stretch," sixth-year Coach Frank Haith said Friday in a phone interview. "We started three out of our first four ACC games on the road. It was almost like boom everything was jammed in, so yeah, I guess it's good to have some time to just practice and get our minds back right."

Last season, the Hurricanes could rely on the three-point marksmanship of Jack McClinton to provide abundant offensive production on a nightly basis and bail them out of jams in necessary. But with McClinton now gone, Haith said his team has tried to take on a more inside-out identity.

Miami has shot three-pointers at a slower clip this season, but that's not to say the Hurricanes have been completely successful in their transformation. At times, Haith said, Miami reverts back to its old habits, and that does not always produce ideal results.

"Obviously we can shoot the ball, but in order for us to have success we've got to have good play out of Dwayne Collins and Reggie Johnson," Haith said. "Both those guys are very capable scorers in the paint, particularly Dwayne. We cannot just fall in love with the three-point shot and not probe the paint area. I think in the Boston College game we went away from that a little bit in the second half, and that's what cost us at the end of the game."

Johnson, a redshirt fresman center who is listed at 6-foot-10, 295 lbs., has made his way into the starting lineup and had a breakout game of sorts against Boston College. He finished with 15 points and nine rebounds against the Eagles. Johnson has dealt with weight issues, but Haith said Johnson can move around quite well for a guy his size.

"When we signed him he needed to lose some weight, but his skill set was really good," Haith said. "He's got decent touch around the basket, plus he can make his free throws. He's got good footwork, good hands. And he's got great size. He's 6-10, and everybody puts him at 290, but I see that scale everyday; he's over 300 pounds. He's not quite 290, where we want him to be, but his mobility is good for a guy his size. His development has come along fine, and I think his best basketball is ahead of him."

Collins, a 6-foot-8, 241-lb. senior forward, has become the centerpiece* of Miami's offense. After pulling his name out of the NBA draft last spring, Collins has averaged 12.7 points and 8.7 rebounds per game this season. He has tallied 20 blocks and is shooting 60.1 percent from the field.

* Haith noted that Collins continues to experience "soreness" from an upper back/neck injury suffered earlier this season. Collins has continued to play in games and in practice, and he is expected to play Tuesday night against Maryland.

"I think he's been more consistent than he has been in his career," Haith said. "Obviously, we've had a couple of games where his production wasn't where it needed to be, but I think Dwayne's consistency has been the best it has been in his career. And we need that. For us to win games in this league, we need production out of Dwayne Collins and James Dews consistently every night."

Dews, a 6-foot-4, 213-lb. senior guard, always has been known as a quality perimeter defender. This season, Dews has developed into more of an offensive presence, by necessity, for the Hurricanes. He is averaging 12.2 points per game and is shooting 48.9 percent from the field. He also is shooting 41.8 percent from three-point range.

But since ACC play began, Dews's shooting percentages have dropped off significantly, and that has Haith a bit concerned. In conference games, Dews is shooting 33.3 percent from the field and 16.7 percent from beyond the arc.

"He was shooting the ball extremely well earlier in the year, and since we've gotten into ACC play, and I think that's been part of our struggles, his offensive production hasn't been what it was in the non-conference season," Haith said. "I think people are paying closer attention to him, but we need his production to pick up a little bit more in ACC play from an offensive standpoint. He'll do all the other things very well. He'll defend, he'll track loose balls, he'll execute very well and he won't turn the ball over. But offensively we do need a little bit more production out of him."

Another issue for Miami has been deciding who the team wants to run the point. Redshirt sophomore guard Malcolm Grant (6-foot-1, 191 lbs.) offers more of a scoring touch, but freshman guard Durand Scott (6-foot-3, 195 lbs.) offers more size and physicality. Scott, who has played through a left ankle injury, is the likely starter against Maryland, though Haith said there may come a time this season when the Hurricanes elect to play them both in the backcourt at the same time.

Scott is averaging 8.1 points and 3.9 rebounds per game, while shooting 43.0 percent from the field. He owns a 2.0 assist-to-turnover ratio and has tallied 23 steals. Grant is averaging 10.5 points per game, while shooting 42.0 percent from the field and 42.9 percent from three-point range. Grant owns a 1.9 assist-to-turnover ratio.

"I think the thing is going into every game, they're both going to play starter minutes, so it doesn't matter who gets their name called out," Haith said. "There may be some times during the year where we play them both together starting. I don't know how that plays out, and that's one of the things we've got to continue to figure out: What's the best rotation for our team? We haven't quite figured that out yet on the perimeter."

Rounding out Miami's starting five is senior forward Adrian Thomas (6-foot-7, 229 lbs.), who possesses the size to bang inside, yet prefers to take most of his shots on the perimeter. He is averaging 7.6 points and 2.7 rebounds per game. He is shooting 43.4 percent from the field and 41.0 percent from three-point range.

And then there is this stat: Of the 113 shots Thomas has taken this season, 100 were fired beyond the three-point line. The guy has shot just eight free throws (eight!) all season. Wow.

"When we signed Adrian when we first got here he was not a shooter, and he turned himself into a shooter," Haith said. "He was just an athletic wing. But he's really bought into the time in the gym, and he's become a terrific shooter. At times when he gets on a roll he's pretty lethal."

Senior forward Cyrus McGowan (6-foot-9, 237 lbs.) and freshman guard Garrius Adams (6-foot-6, 193 lbs.) -- along with either Grant or Scott -- are Miami's primary reserves. McGowan is averaging 4.2 points and 3.3 rebounds per game, while shooting 56.6 percent from the field. He also has tallied 20 blocks. Adams is averaging 3.7 points and 2.4 rebounds per game.

The Hurricanes also will bring in sophomore forward DeQuan Jones (6-foot-6, 219 lbs.) to provide some added depth. Jones is averaging 5.8 points and 2.4 rebounds per game.

As a team, Miami is shooting 47.5 percent from the field, 37.9 percent from three-point range and 63.5 percent from the free throw line. The Hurricanes own a +6.6 rebounding margin and a +0.1 turnover margin. They average 14.4 turnovers per game.

By Steve Yanda  |  January 25, 2010; 11:04 AM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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Next: A coach's view on the Hurricanes


This game can be summed up in one word, TRAP.

I do hope Gary warns the team that they are still facing a very capable team, and that ACC victories should not feel as easy as the last two have. The Terps defense needs to play Collins like they did against Tracey Smith by doubling-down from the weak side. That defense really stymied the Wolfpack, and could provide a similar level of frustration to the 'Canes who rely so much on the inside-out game.

Jordan Williams will be the key to this game, and if he is able to give a solid effort on the defensive end and make Collins work hard on his defensive end, perhaps inducing a few fouls, the Terps will be in good shape.

Vasquez needs to watch the NC State tape over and over and over again to understand what he needs to do as a player on this team. That game was probably one of the best he's ever played as a Terp (even better than the triple-double against UNC). He played under control the entire game, picked his spots masterfully, and his shot selection, aside from a couple of questionable 3's (one did go in), was spot on. We don't need a triple-douple from him in order to win against most teams, and he needs to understand how well he really played on Saturday night.

Cliff Tucker needs more minutes, and if Landon and Sean weren't playing so well, he probably would get some more time. Gary has a great luxury now to have a confident guy coming off the bench that can fill up a stat sheet in one quick stretch. He does still need to work on his defensive deficiencies and perimeter positioning, but Cliff could be the missing piece to a conference championship contender.

Dino is still bothering me on the offensive end. He is so often out of the flow. Even his screens are sloppy, and he just looks tentative in just about every offensive set. Once they're out of a set, and team goes into the secondary, he seems to be more aware, and does a fine job on the offensive glass. Maybe it's rust, or maybe it's just that he's not suited to play the 5. There's no doubting his value on the defensive end though, which is probably why Gary is giving him so many more minutes than Padgett.

This is a hard one to call, but I think the Terps get a scare early from a well-rested and motivated Miami team, yet Gary finds a way to pull things together in the second half...

80-72 Terps

Posted by: Russtinator | January 25, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Loved the back and forth on the last posts about: a)the merits or demerits of Petecard's fandom; b) Maryland as an academic powerhouse; c) Barno's unfailing opinions and knowledge about the team; and d) the fact that the sniping is happening while (lets face it) the team is doing well - perhaps better than some of us expected. It reminds me of when three or more of my college buddies get together and start talking Terps. In all seriousness, these Terps have given a welcome distraction after the disaster of the Football season, the horrific on-field and front-office performance of the Skins and Gilbert's almost comical homicide of the Wizards franchise. Thank you JW for being a first rate big-man and start hitting those FTs.



Posted by: HughGRection | January 25, 2010 9:45 AM

Don't worry too, Hugh, soon enough baseball starts up and with all the young talent the Orioles have, the 2010 season should be more watchable. Or atleast more watchable than the Expos, I mean Natinals, ooops, I mean Nationals. Don't discount the Caps either. Oh and DCU starts up soon. That should be enough to wash away recent memories of the 'Skins and 'Zards. Plus, we can all finally rejoice since Vinny (Barno's BFF) is gone from Redskins Park.

As for Tuesday's game, the Terps needs to continue to hold serve at home (even if that comes at the expense of my 'Canes). I would also like to see (as pointed out before) more consistency, from the team as a whole, from the free-throw line. They didn't do too bad last game but it's something they still could improve on.

Of course who knows whether or not some of us are even on the bandwagon since it seems one poster has the final say as to who can and cannot be on the Terps wagon.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | January 25, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

I think you pretty much nail it Russtinator. I would be a little more worried about a "trap" if the game was in Coral Gables. The Terps seem to be in a pretty good groove right now and it's hard to imagine it won't continue against the Canes.

But, we can't take anything for granted in the crazy year the ACC is having.

Posted by: petecard | January 25, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Vasquez is a hot dog with a big mouth. He won't lead the Terps to anything next year.

If he finally gets to the NBA they will eat him up and spit him out.

See ya!

Posted by: petecard | April 26, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

C'mon all of you FOG's (Fans of Gary) let's hear about how the Terps are going to win one or two in the ACC.

Don't bother to make your MSG reservations. They won't get that far in the NIT.

Posted by: petecard | February 18, 2009 11:05 AM

Our program is a real disappointment and I am disgusted.

Let's hear it Koolaid drinkers.

Posted by: petecard | March 9, 2009 6:30 PM

Why not just deal with the bottom line: We are going to miss the tournament this year for the 4th time in 5 years.


Gary's responsibility.

Posted by: petecard | February 19, 2009 10:32 AM

Turtle Soup, brought to you by Gary Williams. Simply warm and serve.

Posted by: petecard | March 9, 2009 8:56 AM

Why don't we start a movement to get GW and Brenda Frese to switch jobs.

The men's program would take off and it would mean huge national PR.

The problem: The women's program would tank. Guess that is just not fair....

Posted by: petecard | March 9, 2009 6:36 PM

No break for Gary. Why don't you take him with you to another place. How about Virginia or UMBC?

Posted by: petecard | March 8, 2009 3:09 PM

The Terps seem to be in a pretty good groove right now and it's hard to imagine it won't continue

Posted by: petecard | January 25, 2010 3:33 PM

hey whaddaya know

Posted by: Barno1 | January 25, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Rustinator- excellent post

Posted by: Towards_Light | January 25, 2010 10:12 PM | Report abuse

Good post by Rustinator.

Posted by: lavar609 | January 26, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

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