Notre Dame at UM men, 9 p.m.

Miami Hurricanes suspend forward James Kelly, will face Notre Dame


Notre Dame at UM men

When, where: 9 p.m., BankUnited Center, Coral Gables.

TV, radio: FoxSports; Sunshine; ESPN3; WQAM (560 AM); WVUM (90.5 FM);

Records: Miami (12-13, 3-9 ACC); Notre Dame (14-12, 5-8 ACC)

Projected starters UM: G Garrius Adams (6-6, Sr., 10.0 ppg), G Rion Brown (6-6, Sr., 14.4 ppg), F Erik Swoope (6-5, Sr., 2.7 ppg), F Donnavan Kirk (6-9, Sr., 8.8 ppg), F Raphael Akpejiori (6-9, Sr., 0.8 ppg). Notre Dame: G Steve Vasturia (6-6, Fr., 5.8 ppg), G Eric Atkins (6-2, Sr., 13.6 ppg), F Zach Auguste (6-10, So., 7.5 ppg), F Pat Connaughton (6-5, Jr., 7.5 ppg), C Garrick Sherman (6-11, Sr., 13.2 ppg)

Scouting report: It’s the first game between Miami and Notre Dame since both were in the Big East back in 2004. UM students in attendance will receive a limited edition Mardi Gras UM T-shirt, and beads will be tossed into the student section for Canes fans with bayou-crazed enthusiasm.

Between dealing with the fallout of an NCAA probe, the highs of a run to an ACC title and the Sweet 16, and now a roster overhaul thanks to big time departures, transfers and injuries, coach Jim Larrañaga on Monday referred to his first three seasons at the University of Miami as “the most variety of challenges” he’s ever faced as a coach.

Well, here’s another one coach. Tuesday, UM indefinitely suspended forward James Kelly — a key player off the bench in a nine-man rotation — for violating team rules. Kelly (6-7, 246) ranks fifth on the team in scoring (7.0) and rebounds (4.0) and was averaging nearly 20 minutes a game, most of them off the bench.

“James is a fine young man, but we need him to have a clear focus on what is expected of a student-athlete at the University of Miami,” Larrañaga said in a statement released by the school.

A source close to the team told the Miami Herald that Kelly’s suspension was expected to last three games — including Wednesday night when Notre Dame (14-12, 5-8 ACC) visits the BankUnited Center for a 9 p.m. tip-off.

Still looking for their first conference win at home and with six regular season games left, the Hurricanes (12-13, 3-9 ACC) have been facing depth issues all season. The loss of four guards — freshmen Corn Elder and Deandre Burnett (injuries), and juniors Angel Rodriguez and Sheldon McClellan (NCAA transfer rules) — has forced many on the roster to play out of position, Larrañaga said.

The result: the Hurricanes have morphed from a fast-paced, get-up-the-floor team a year ago with first round pick Shane Larkin running the point to a slow-grinding, deliberate, wait-for-the-open-shot offense.

UM, averaging nearly nine points fewer a game (61) than last season, ranks last among 351 Division I basketball teams in offensive possessions per game (60.1). Their new zone defense, on the other side, meanwhile, does the same slowing down to their opponents.

Most nights, Larrañaga’s strategy has paid off as the Hurricanes have been within striking distance late in all but one of their first dozen ACC games, a 21-point loss to Duke at home on Jan. 22. But when players do not make wise decisions or make those open shots with the shot clock winding down, it usually spells doom for the Canes.

Last week’s road trips to Florida State and Virginia Tech paint an excellent picture of his team’s inconsistency, Larrañaga said. UM was the perfect mix of efficient (7 of 15 on three-point attempts) and aggressive (24 of 33 from the free throw line) in a 77-73 win over the Seminoles. They were the opposite (7 of 34 on three-pointers) and (8 of 17 on free throws) in a 52-45 loss against the Hokies on Saturday.

“Our lack of success at home can really be attributed to our lack of consistency throughout the year,” Larrañaga said. “We just don’t play the same way on a regular basis — the individual player. A lot of that is guys playing out of position.

“Our big guys are limited in their scoring ability. Tonye [Jekifiri] and [Raphael Akpejiori] don’t score a lot at the five. So that puts pressure on the other guys to deliver and that allows the opponent to focus on the guys who shoot. We’d like to play a whole lot better Wednesday night.”

Read more UM stories from the Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category