The recent passing of former University of Virginia basketball coach Terry Holland was untimely for what would have been an enjoyable NCAA Tournament involving one of his contemporaries.
Holland and current University of Miami head coach Jim Larranaga were both born in the 1940s — Holland in 1942 and Larranaga in 1949 — with Larranaga serving as an assistant coach to Holland at Davidson from 1971 until Holland left for Virginia in 1973.
Larranaga had his first head-coaching position at American International from 1977-79, after which he joined Holland’s staff at Virginia from 1979-86. He left Virginia after the 1985-86 season to become head coach at Bowling Green followed by a head coaching stint at George Mason from 1997-2011 in which his finest moment was steering the Patriots to the 2006 Final Four.
Miami hasn’t lost since sustaining an 85-78 loss to Duke in the ACC Tournament semifinals and the Hurricanes reached the Final Four with an 88-81 victory that was somewhat disputed.
With the score 79-79, it was first ruled that Miami’s Norchad Omier had jumped over the back of a Texas player; however, it was determined that the Texas player was guilty and Omier succeeded in making two free throws.
Duke Edsall, a longtime college basketball official in Roanoke, reviewed the call earlier this week and said it was correct.
“The guy from Miami is behind the kid from Texas,” Edsall said, “but he jumps straight in the air to get the rebound. It’s a long rebound and the kid from Texas just backs under him and takes his legs out.
“And, of course, the Miami kid comes down on top of him and, so, everyone thinks it’s over and back, but it wasn’t over and back. He never made any contact with him going up.”
His time of year
Roger Ayers is back to his annual work as an NCAA men’s basketball official. He started the postseason in Columbus, Ohio, for a game between Michigan State and Southern California.
He subsequently had the “Cinderella” game between Florida Atlantic and Fairleigh-Dickenson. In the Sweet 16, he had Texas and Xavier. He will go to Houston for the Final Four but doesn’t know who that will involve.
“They called Monday and picked nine guys and they pick two as alternates,” Ayers said. “They asked and said, ‘Can you go?’ I said, ‘Yeah, I think I could do that.’ ”
The portal and more
Although some may have viewed it as a surprise when Virginia freshman Isaac Traudt elected to transfer to Creighton, it’s easy to see why.
As a senior at Grand Island High School in Nebraska, two of his top choices were North Carolina and Creighton before Virginia entered the picture.
A redshirt role at Virginia this past season gave him plenty of time to contemplate a return to Grand Island, which is 150 miles from Creighton in downtown Omaha.
The spot on Virginia’s roster could be filled by 6-foot-10 Blake Buchanan, a recruit from Coeur D-Alene High School in Lake City, Idaho, who is rated the No. 125 prospect in the country by rivals.com.
“After a lot of thought and consideration, I realized that nothing means more to me than home,” Traudt was quoted by the Omaha World-Herald.
Dutch-bred Quinten Post has expressed plans to leave Boston College and turn pro. Post began his college career at Mississippi State, where he spent two seasons before transferring to BC.
Post, who averaged a team-high 15.6 points and 5.1 rebounds this past season, is a member of the Netherlands national team and also played for a German club team.
Heading to Virginia Tech is Mekhi Long, a 6-foot-7 forward at Old Dominion who began his career at Rhode Island. Long averaged 8.7 points last season, connecting on 28 3-point attempts.
Caleb Love, who averaged 16.7 points per game and played on the North Carolina team that reached the 2022 NCAA title game, has entered the transfer portal.
Also, Syracuse mainstay Joe Girard III has been approached by a number of Southeastern Conference teams.
Among ACC programs, Girard is considering Pittsburgh, Clemson and Notre Dame. Syracuse is countering by adding Notre Dame’s JJ Starling.