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As Miami lands a future big man, it contrasts with what's ahead for it this season. Plus, Gonzaga and Kentucky agree to more games, Friday night hoops events, and more.
We’re just a month away from the start of the 2022-23 season and every small milestone should be enjoyed. Starting this week, a number of programs will have events to introduce their players. They don’t mean much, but hey, we’ll all find a way to talk about it.
Here’s to the news of the day (and making it to another weekend).
1. Miami’s multiple ways of landing talent
The Hurricanes landed their first class of 2023 commitment in Michael Nwoko, a 6-10 center out of Napa, Calif. The consensus top-150 prospect offers a ton of size and toughness, along with providing a physical presence in the interior.
Miami also gets a preview of what’s to come this season — Nwoko is a bigger version of Norchad Omier, one of the top transfers this season. The 6-7 forward from Arkansas State was the Sun Belt Player of the Year, averaging 17.9 ppg and 12.2 rpg last season. He, along with Kansas State transfer Nijel Pack, gives Miami one of the most impactful transfer groups in all of the offseason.
That raises expectations in Miami, especially compared to last season when few knew what to anticipate after the program re-tooled its roster. But after a trip to the Elite Eight, now we know what’s possible in Coral Gables. As long as coach Jim Larranaga can find his right mix.
Transfers have become an important part of Miami basketball, and the school’s location certainly makes it an ideal destination. They could use Nwoko this season, as the Canes will sport one of the smallest D1 lineups. And that puts pressure on Omier.
From The Almanac:
Larranaga feels confident in what he has with Isaiah Wong, Pack and Jordan Miller. He likes his role guys from a year ago, whether Bensley Joseph and Wooga Poplar on the perimeter or Walker up front. There are enough other frontcourt options with the freshmen that at least one of them should grow into a contributor.
But the one guy who will have the most pressure on him is Omier. He put up monster numbers a year ago, but it was at Arkansas State against a bunch of other 6-7 big men. Now, he’ll be going up against guys with far more length. The key won’t just be whether he can score effectively in the paint — it’s more about whether Omier can clean the glass at the level he did a year ago.
He’ll have to be a consistent double-digit rebound guy, because there just isn’t a ton of proven size that’ll help him out besides Miller. Walker isn’t much of a bruiser, and rookies will take time to adjust. Favour Aire, who has gained about 15 pounds, is still thin and may not be able to withstand the physicality of the ACC
Check out the full profile in The Almanac, available right now for just $20.
2. Friday night lights
The college hoops preseason really arrives when programs start to host events to hype up the fanbases and introduce them to the current rosters. A few programs held some last weekend, but there are at least six coming up before a massive amount next week. Coming tonight:
Indiana’s Hoosier Hysteria
The annual event starts at 7 pm ET and is on B1G+ (separate from Big Ten Network) and hosts G Herbo as the headliner for a concert. More details
Syracuse’s Monroe Madness
The Orange actually hold two events. This one is in nearby Rochester. From 6:30-8:30 pm ET, both the men’s and women’s teams will take part in an intrasquad scrimmage, along with 3-point shooting contests and a men’s dunk contest. More details here.
Michigan State Madness
After a two-year event hiatus, the Spartans are back to introduce the men’s and women's teams, starting at 9:30 pm ET. What will Tom Izzo wear? That’s part of the fun. There will be a couple of scrimmages, along with performances by the school’s band dance squads. More details here.
North Carolina’s Live Action
UNC’s preseason event, formerly known as “Late Night with Roy,” rebranded to “Live Action” after Hubert Davis’ sideline interview during the national championship game. Live Action starts at 7:30 pm ET and will spotlight both the men’s and women’s teams. It features a 3-point shooting contest and intrasquad scrimmages for both programs. More details here.
Saturday — Gonzaga’s Numerica Kraziness in the Kennel
The annual event starts at 7 pm ET (4 pm local) and will be streamed on SW/KHQ. The men’s team will be introduced, including 3-point and dunk contests, followed by a 20-minute scrimmage. More details here.
Sunday — Wisconsin’s Red-White Scrimmage
The annual intrasquad matchup takes place at 5 pm ET (which means they’ll be done before the Packers play that night). The free event will give the first look at the new roster, as well as how much Chucky Hepburn has improved. More details here.
3. Kentucky, Gonzaga extend series through 2027
Earlier this offseason coaches John Calipari and Mark Few agreed on a “home and home” series between the programs. They’ll play in Spokane next month and in Lexington in 2023.
The sticking point that (mostly Gonzaga) fans had issues with is that the game wasn’t going to be played in the Kennel and instead, Spokane Arena. That’s no longer the case.
Regardless of where the games are played, it’s awesome for the sport that two of the best programs will face each other for six straight years. It’s a nice mix of home, neutral and away games for each side. There are two questions to ask about this though. One, will any matchup live up to the hype that this season will have with Oscar Tshiebwe vs Drew Timme? And two … will either coach be around for the 2027 game?
When John Calipari initially announced the Kentucky-Gonzaga series, he said the ‘Cats want to play in Spokane to accommodate more fans and that the school hadn’t played in front of fewer than 6,000 fans since the ‘70s.
When was the last time Kentucky played in front of a crowd of less than 6,000 people?
Answer at the bottom. (H/T: Josh Linke)
THE DTF PODCAST
What Memphis’ punishment says about college hoops
The news is from a few weeks ago, but Rob Dauster, John Fanta and Terrence Oglesby don’t spend this entire segment on Memphis, but on the NCAA overall. Does this have any impact on other looming IARP investigations? Should other schools be mad about this one?
And what happens when the NCAA eventually hires a new president?
THE FAST BREAK
Links as you try to remember all of G Herbo’s lyrics (like Jeff Goodman).
Larry Hughes Jr. looks to create his own legacy at Saint Louis, his dad’s alma mater.
Every good player in the Big Ten made the preseason first-team list.
Gonzaga only has 3 of 10 players on their preseason list for the WCC. Could the Bulldogs not be as good as advertised?
Ohio State’s defense will be better this season, says Oklahoma State transfer Isaac Likekele.
Kent State’s president is worried about the impending costs of paying athletes and potential D-I changes.
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Trivia answer: 2013. Kentucky played against Robert Morris in the postseason NIT.