Is Miami the Second Best Team in the ACC?Posted by mpatton on December 21st, 2012
After Miami undressed Central Florida on the road this week, it’s become very clear that this team is better than its 12-point road loss to Florida Gulf Coast to start the season. Throw in Florida State’s early struggles, North Carolina losing to a very mediocre Texas team and NC State giving up nearly 80 points to a offensively challenged Stanford team, and now it looks like the Hurricanes are the second best team in the ACC because of their improved backcourt play.
Jim Larranaga‘s team has all the pieces: an exciting — underrated, at least in terms of watchability — point guard, a veteran leader, a slew of athletic wings, and a terrific front line. But seriously, how awesome will the frontcourt battle between Duke and Miami be this year? Reggie Johnson and Mason Plumlee are two of the best back-to-the-basket guys in the country. Kenny Kadji and Ryan Kelly are two of the best stretch fours. Right now, Duke appears to have an edge, but just remember last year’s Duke – Miami game at Cameron Indoor Stadium for a look at Johnson’s value.
Durand Scott is finally seeing his efficiency match his upside, as he’s gone from a frustrating player with loads of potential to one of the more effective scorers in the conference. This year his shooting percentage has risen to a ludicrous 59% from the field. He’s taking better shots because the team’s pieces are finally fitting together. Also, having a good point guard means a world of difference. Scott also sneakily is one of the better rebounding guards in the country.
Shane Larkin has also seen a huge boost in his offensive efficiency. He’s still the same high-risk, exciting point guard he was last season (also known as his turnovers and assists are still high), but his shooting percentages have soared. If he corrals those turnovers, he’ll be one of the top point guards in the country. The team’s comfort playing together definitely has improved Larkin and Scott’s shooting. Unlike last season, this feels like a team, not a collection of talent. Give Jim Larranaga and his players credit. A lot of people (myself included) doubted this team coming into the season, but so far they’re proving the doubters wrong.