NIT: Valparaiso at Miami

Goofy version of Valpo's crusader mascot.

Miami is reeling right now: disappointed after missing the NCAA tournament and beaten down by the NCAA (Durand Scott has been declared ineligible less than two weeks after Reggie Johnson had to sit out). But with talented young players like Shane Larkin and Trey McKinney Jones, all they can do is soldier on and try to get valuable postseason experience.

Key to the game: Shane Larkin. Miami’s young/speedy point guard will be handling the ball most of the time without Durand Scott, and he’s already shown he can do that. Against Florida State last Friday, Larkin took a season-high 14 shots (making six) and had 16 points, adding eight rebounds and five assists. It’s a very Scott-like stat line, and if Larkin can use the NIT to become a more seasoned player, Miami will be very scary next year.

Prediction: Miami 85, Valparaiso 72

Random Mascot Fact: Valparaiso used to have a mascot called the Uhlan (which has some sort of iffy ties to the Germans/Nazism). They changed to yet another war-mongering group fighting for its ideals: the Crusaders.

Last week: 8-3

Season: 140-50 (68-28 ACC) (8-3 Postseason)

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