1. What are your overall thoughts on the Canes this year?
SOTU: Miami is a team with a ton of potential. Preseason I picked them to finish second in the conference regular season, so I obviously like the make up of the team. Halfway through the season, I still think they are one of the best teams in the country when at their best. However, when they do not share the ball, and lack intensity, anyone can beat them. UM needs Sheldon McClellan and Davon Reed to be options 1 and 1A. They also need Tonye Jekiri to play like a future NBA big. Additionally Angel Rodriguez must embrace the distributor role, and not try to do too much offensively. If those things happen and happen on a consistent basis, they can go to the Final 4.
2. Looking at your schedule, one game that jumps out is the 'Canes' loss to another Boston school, Northeastern. What happened with that game?
SOTU: Quite frankly, Northeastern shot the heck out of the ball. They were something like 12-23 from deep, but they also made a ton of contested shots from within the 3 point line (including the game winner). The 'Canes had several chances to take control of the game, but could not, including one point where a dreaded 4 point play was converted against them in the second half when they were up four. Sometimes you just have to tip your cap to the other team. This was one of those cases.
3. What are the 'Canes' biggest strengths/weaknesses?
SOTU: Their biggest strength is their depth. McClellan is their best player. But anyone from Ja'Quan Newton to Ivan Cruz Uceda to Anthony Lawrence Jr. can have a big game for them. Their biggest weakness is probably perimeter defense. At times they can stifle the opponent. But it seems like when they lose games, they have a lot of moments where the opposition finds too many good looks on the outside.
4. We at BCI know a lot about the game BC needs to play in order to lose, but what type of game does BC need to play in order to win?
SOTU: With all due respect to the Eagles, this game is really all about Miami. If they come to play, they can make teams like Utah and Butler look pedestrian. If they don't show up with their A game though, they are beatable. BC does not have the players (sans maybe Eli Carter) to keep up with Miami. They only way they win is if UM shows up and isn't ready to play.
5. Who is one player a BC fan should look out for?
SOTU: Ja'Quan Newton is a guy who really excels when the Hurricanes are playing well. He is a slashing 6'3" PG who many 'Canes fans feel should be starting ahead of Rodriguez. He plays excellent defense, is unselfish, and can flat out score. The sophomore from Philly is the kind of player Syracuse and Villanova have been producing for years in their best seasons. Now Miami has a player like him. If UM is to make a deep run this season, his role will need to expand.
6. What are you expecting from Wednesday night?
SOTU: The Hurricanes come out angry and put BC away early. This is a game they cannot afford to lose. And with their depth and firepower, they should roll. But given the game is on the road, you never know. Still, I expect Coach Larranaga to have them prepared and fired up.