Jim Larrañaga is back in Fairfax, Virginia, where he led George Mason to an improbable Final Four run 10 years ago. Rather than bring his seventh-ranked University of Miami men’s basketball team back to Coral Gables after Saturday’s loss at Virginia Tech, he will prepare the Hurricanes for the upcoming ACC tournament in Washington, in his old stomping grounds.
The Canes will practice at George Mason’s gym on Monday and Tuesday. On Sunday night, Larrañaga took the team to dinner at Brion’s Grille, one of his favorite spots, which once had a Jim Larrañaga burger on the menu.
Despite ending the regular season with a 77-62 loss to the Hokies, a loss that dropped Miami to a No. 3 seed in the ACC tournament, the Canes had reason to celebrate at dinner. Larrañaga on Sunday was named ACC Coach of the Year. Sheldon McClellan was named to the All-ACC second team, Angel Rodriguez to the third team and Tonye Jekiri to the All-Defensive Team.
UM will open the conference tournament at 9 p.m. Thursday at the Verizon Center against the winner of the Wednesday game between No. 6 seed Virginia Tech and the winner of the Florida State-Boston College matchup.
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“Our team was tired [against Virginia Tech] and not in the right frame of mind,’’ Larrañaga said. “Now we will regroup, and the rest will help us as well.’’