No. 16/17 Hurricanes Host Florida Southern in Saturday's Opener
Nov. 14, 2008
CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The No. 16/17 University of Miami men’s basketball team opens its 2008-09 season at home on Saturday versus Florida Southern.
Game 1: Miami (0-0) vs. Florida Southern (3-0)
Date: Sat., Nov. 15, 2008 | Time: 7:30 p.m. | Site: BankUnited Center
TV: None | Radio: 560 WQAM | Internet Video: None
Websites: Miami (www.hurricanesports.com) | Florida Southern (www.flsouthern.edu/athletics)
Probable Miami Starters
No. Name (Pos/Ht/Wt/Cl) Pts* Reb* Ast*
5 Eddie Rios (G, 6-0, 190, So.) 3.4 1.2 2.1
33 Jack McClinton (G, 6-1, 185, Sr.) 17.7 2.4 1.8
23 James Dews (G, 6-4, 209, Jr.) 10.3 2.9 1.8
21 Dwayne Collins (F, 6-8, 238, Jr.) 8.6 6.5 0.9^
00 Jimmy Graham (F, 6-8, 256, Sr.) 6.0 4.9 1.2^
Probable Florida Southern Starters
No. Name (Pos/Ht/Wt/Cl) Pts Reb Ast
1 Brandon Jenkins (G, 6-2, 185, So.) 9.7 3.3 2.3
20 Rion Rayfield (G, 6-1, 195, So.) 9.7 1.7 3.3
22 Rob Eldridge (G, 6-2, 210, Sr.) 17.7 4.3 2.3
32 Zach Smith (F, 6-5, 210, Sr.) 6.3 8.3 2.7
45 Rashaad Singleton (C, 7-0, 280, Sr.) 9.3 7.0 5.7^
^ blocks per game
Before the season opener, the Hurricanes will unveil their 2007-08 NCAA Tournament banner at the BankUnited Center. In addition, Wooden Award candidate and Preseason All-ACC Team pick Jack McClinton will be recognized during the game for becoming the 29th Hurricane to score more than 1,000 points in his career. In just two seasons with the Hurricanes, McClinton has amassed 1,085 career points to rank 24th among career scorers. He topped the 1,000-point mark with a 22-point performance in the 2007-08 regular-season finale at Florida State.
The University of Miami men’s basketball team opens the 2008-09 season ranked among the nation’s top 25 in both preseason polls for just the second time in program history. The Hurricanes are No. 16 in the preseason USA Today/ESPN Top 25 Coaches’ Poll — tying the highest preseason ranking in program history — and are No. 17 in the preseason Associated Press Poll. It is the highest preseason ranking ever by the Hurricanes in the AP Poll and marks Miami’s highest ranking in that poll since 2001-02 when UM reached No. 12 in the first week of February.
The Hurricanes are among four ACC teams ranked in the preseason Top 25 and are the highest ranked team in Florida in both the AP and USA Today/ESPN preseason polls.
CAN I GET AN ENCORE…
Miami returns eight letterwinners, its top-five scorers, four starters, 82.8 percent of its scoring — including 97.9 percent of its three-pointers — and 72 percent of its rebounding from its 2007-08 NCAA Tournament squad. Jack McClinton is back for his senior season after leading the team in scoring, three-point field goals and free throws, and tying for the team lead in assists with Lance Hurdle one season ago. Dwayne Collins returns as the team’s top rebounder, while Jimmy Graham brings energy to the hardwood and a passion for blocking shots.
THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE ARE FREE
Jack McClinton returns to the hardwood as the nation’s most accurate free throw shooter. Last season he led the ACC and finished third in the nation in free throw percentage, converting 91.9 percent from the charity stripe — the third-highest percentage in ACC history. McClinton was the only non-senior among the nation’s top-five free throw leaders last season and is the top free-throw shooter returning in 2008-09.
The Hurricanes are 4-0 in season openers and 4-0 in home openers under fifth-year head coach Frank Haith, including a 104-61 win over Florida Southern one year ago in UM’s 2007-08 opener. Miami has won its last four home openers by an average of 25 points per game. Overall, the Hurricanes have won 15-straight season openers and nine-straight home openers, dating back to an 85-53 win over Florida Atlantic on Nov. 26, 1993, at the Miami Arena.
Saturday marks the 68th meeting between Miami and Florida Southern, with the Hurricanes leading the all-time series, 59-8. UM has won 24 of the teams’ last 25 meetings, including a 104-61 victory in its 2007-08 season opener.
A LOOK AT FLORIDA SOUTHERN
The Moccasins, ranked No. 2 among NCAA Division II men’s basketball programs, bring a perfect 3-0 mark into Saturday’s contest versus the Hurricanes. They won three games on a neutral court to claim last weekend’s Disney Classic, led by 6-2 guard Rob Eldridge who averaged 17.7 points per game for the tournament on .538 shooting. Eldridge, a preseason honorable mention All-American, was earned tournament MVP honors. Rashaad Singleton, a 7-0 senior transfer from the University of Georgia, is averaging 9.3 points, 7.0 rebounds and a team-high 5.7 blocks per game in his first season with Florida Southern. The Mocs played two exhibition road games versus Division I programs, falling at Purdue, 94-62, and at Illinois, 82-61.