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Canes MBB: Lunardi Ranks Larranaga’s Hurricanes As 10th Seed In 2020-21 Tournament

Following a disappointing 15-16 (7-13) overall 2019-20 record for Jim Larranaga’s Miami Hurricanes, fans have directed their attention to the future of the program. ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi has provided hope for Hurricane hopefuls as college basketball heads into the 2020-21 offseason.

In Lunardi’s Way-Too-Early March Madness bracket for 2021, Miami was predicted to be a No. 10 seed in the South Region bracket, taking on the Indiana Hoosiers, projected as the No. 7 seed.

Although these projections are obviously young and unpredictable, the expectation and hype for this upcoming Miami Hurricanes team will be in effect as soon as their 2020-21 season kicks off.

With Miami bringing in Freshman 4-star Earl Timberlake and 3-star Matt Cross, coach Larranaga adds more young talent to a roster who is losing just 2 players in DJ Vasiljevic and Keith Stone.

Canes transfer Nysier Brooks fills in the void for Keith Stone, adding his athleticism and shot-blocking to an undersized team. Brooks played three seasons at Cincinnati before transferring to Miami and sitting out last season, averaging 8.3 points per game, 6.5 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and shot 53.5%.

If Redshirt Sophomore Deng Gak can stay healthy, the former 4-star, 6-foot-10 forward can be a huge boost along with Brooks to add size. In 7 games last season, Gak averaged 1.7 points per game and 2.0 rebounds on 62.5% shooting. However, he has suffered two consecutive season-ending injuries, keeping him off the court in his time with Miami.

The Chris Lykes led squad also brings in more experience in ACC play, something they struggled dearly in. Miami recorded a 7-13 record in conference play, eventually losing in just the first round of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament to Clemson, 69-64.

Isaiah Wong, Harlond Beverly, and Anthony Walker will provide a much bigger role to Larranaga’s rotation with the Freshman jitters off their shoulders. Although Wong and Beverly did get a good number of minutes every night, Walker was used a lot more earlier in the season but slowly lost his minutes as time progressed.

If the Canes can pull off these early projections, it will be the first time they reach the NCAA Tournament since 2018, with McDonald’s All American and current San Antonio Spurs guard Lonnie Walker leading the team as a freshman alongside Bruce Brown, Dewan Hernandez, Ja’Quan Newton, Chris Lykes, Anthony Lawrence, Ebuka Izundu, and more.

Michael Yero covers all of South Florida’s major pro teams, along with high school sports for 305 Sports. He also covers sports for Immaculata-La Salle High School’s student newspaper, the Royal Courier.

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