Men's Basketball to Aim for Second Paradise Jam Title
May 13, 2008
CORAL GABLES, FLA. – The <?xml:namespace prefix=”st1″ ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags”?>University of Miami men’s basketball program is among four NCAA Tournament teams to headline the 2008 U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam at the University of the Virgin Islands Sports and FitnessCenter in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, from Nov. 21-24.<?xml:namespace prefix=”o” ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office”?>
The Hurricanes, ranked as high as No. 12 in various preseason media polls, is joined by Connecticut, Wisconsin, San Diego, Southern Miss, La Salle, Valparaiso and Iona in the impressive eight-team field. Both Miami and San Diego reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament last season, while Wisconsin advanced to the NCAA’s Sweet Sixteen and UConn bowed out after a first-round loss to San Diego. Connecticut has been ranked in the top 10 in a pair of preseason polls, while Wisconsin has been listed among the top 25.
Miami (23-11, 8-8 ACC), winners of the inaugural Paradise Jam men’s title in 2001, will take on Southern Miss (19-14, 9-7 CUSA) in the tournament’s opening game on Fri., Nov. 21, at 1 p.m. (EST) in the first meeting between the teams. San Diego-Valparaiso (3:30 p.m.), La Salle-Connecticut (6 p.m.) and Iona-Wisconsin (8:30 p.m.) comprise the remaining first-round games.
The Hurricanes will face either UConn (24-9, 13-5 Big East) or La Salle (15-17, 8-8 Atlantic 10) in the second round.
“This is going to be one of the best – if not the best – early-season tournaments in 2008,” said head Miami coach Frank Haith, who will be embarking on his fifth year at the helm. “The quality of this field in this is just tremendous. It is definitely going to be a challenge, but our squad is accustomed to playing the best opponents in the country and this will be a great tune-up for us before entering ACC play.”
First-round winners will have a one-day bye from competition and then meet on Sun., Nov. 23, while the losing teams will play on Sat., Nov. 22. All third-round contests are scheduled for Mon., Nov. 24, with the title game to tip at 8:30 p.m.
The Hurricanes have gone 12-3 in international in-season tournament play, including going 3-0 en route to the inaugural Puerto Rico Tip Off title last November. Miami defeated Clemson to win the first Paradise Jam men’s title in 2001 – behind 18 points and 10 rebounds from former Hurricane and current Sacramento King John Salmons.
Fox Sports Net will broadcast Monday’s final and the consolation game, while Fox College Sports will air Sunday’s semifinals.