With the Hokies taking on the canes on Wednesday in a big, early game for Tech, I figured I’d check in with our good buddy, Kartik Krishnaiyer. Kartik is Niemo’s favorite u of miami fan. Kartik is the publisher of canes Rising, a web site that is temporarily down but will be back up in February. It provides unique insight into miami football, basketball, and baseball.
Kartik has been attending miami football games since 1981 and miami basketball games since 1986. Despite graduating from the university of florida, he bleeds orange and green, and continues to hold season tickets for miami football and basketball. He is the Host of the English Premiere League Talk Podcast, Editor of MLS Talk and Host of the MLS Talk Podcast, Owner of the Kartik Report, and Manchester City Blog Chief Writer in addition to his work with canes Rising [Davey – you’d love this guy].
Here are the past articles from Kartik:
- Last Year’s Opposing View: miami
- 2008 Opposing View: miami
- Kartik’s Views on the NCAA Selection Committee
You can also check out The Opposing Taunt – Niemo Mocks Sebastian the Ibis
OK, let’s get to the questions. Kartik’s answers are in italics.
Niemo: I wasn’t a believer in the canes and their soft schedule until I saw them beat wake. They look solid. What have been your impressions of the canes to date?
Kartik: The team is a mixed bag. James Dews has shown some flashes, but still has not demonstrated the leadership you would expect from a Senior. Dwayne Collins is hit or miss. We’ve seen this since his freshman year. When he’s on, Miami is tough to beat. DeQuan Jones continues to be a disappointment. Cyrus McGowan, also a senior who transferred from Arkansas three years ago is simply taking up space at this point.
The two new guards, Durand Scott and Malcolm Grant have been good. Beating South Carolina and Minnesota were good wins, but the BC loss was terrible and raised some questions that quite frankly may not be answered all season. The team is too inconsistent and the ball movement is often so stagnant on offense, it is impossible to be totally comfortable with the situation. But the two new guards are good enough to perhaps carry Miami to the NCAA bubble. Actually making the tournament is going to be tough. I sense we are going to be in “VT limbo” this year, with the selection committee once again, deciding they have some ratio of teams from the SEC and Big 12 they want to let into the dance instead of picking the best at-large teams. I truthfully believe the Hokies were a tournament team the last two seasons, and if the selection committee had any common sense, they’d realize losing to UNC in the last seconds in the ACC Tournament both years is a sign of strength, not weakness.
Niemo: Malcolm Grant, the villanova transfer, looks like a real player. Tell me about him and his game. Seems to have similar range to Jack McClinton.
Kartik: He’s a good player, a bit rough around the edges though. He is a decent ball handler and defender which McClinton wasn’t and can penetrate. But sometimes, like McClinton, he falls in love with deep threes and unlike McClinton, does not work hard enough to get open looks. But when he does get open he is deadly. He also is a quite cocky player, which is good because some of our seniors seems to lack confidence or the flamboyance to positively affect the team when things go bad.
Niemo: Dwayne Collins had a monster game against wake. Is he finally showing his promise or is he still terribly inconsistent?
Kartik: The latter as I talked about above. In Miami’s embarrassing loss to Boston College, DC did not even see the floor after the under 12 timeout in the second half because he was so poor and Miami was being out-rebounded about as badly as any D1 team can be. Miami came from 17 back to tie the game before losing by 1 after Collins was benched.
[Note: Collins had a monster game against VT in miami last year and the Hokies need to focus on limiting him in this game.]
Niemo: Are you ready to call DeQuan Jones (5-star recruit of two years ago) a bust?
Kartik: Yes. Another reason we cannot fall in love with recruiting rankings. I’d really like to see the kid turn it around, but he’s an athlete not a basketball player. That is the bottom line and now more than midway through his sophomore year he looks as lost as ever. Quite honestly he does not have the instincts or concentration level to play in the ACC. He belongs at a mid major program, where his athleticism will win him solid playing time and his obvious basketball deficiency can be masked better.
[Note: Sounds a lot like the perception of Dorenzo Hudson at this time last year… or even earlier this year.]
Niemo: Do you think this is a better team than the teams that had McClinton the last few years?
Kartik: Potentially yes. Actually, this team, thanks to Grant and Scott’s ability to handle the ball and defend on the perimeter could be much better. But the inconsistency of the upperclassmen, as described above is holding the Canes back. I expect this team, next year, to be very good.
Niemo: I still think the Hokies are a better team than the canes, even if the pollsters don’t agree (miami had 70 votes last week to just 20 for the Hokies). Both have had cupcake schedules out of conference. What do you think of the Hokies versus the canes?
Kartik: I think the Hokies are very good, but sometimes Jeff Allen gets lost in games. I liked what we saw down in Cancun last week, but had he played better in Chapel Hill, the Hokies could have stolen one. Hudson and Delaney are among the best guard combos in the league, and are perhaps the best.
Niemo: Where do you see the canes finishing in the ACC this year? The Hokies?
Kartik: Both will finish between 5th and 9th in the league, Va Tech likely finishing higher. That puts both on the NCAA bubble again, in all likelihood.
Niemo: How do you see this game?
Kartik: The Hokies win in a relatively close, but sloppy game.
[Note: He ALWAYS picks the Hokies to win. Reverse jinx!]
Niemo: That whooping VT put on the canes in September in football was my 100th straight Hokie football home game I’ve attended dating back to 1994. What were your impressions of the game? Different weather, different result?
Kartik: Miami was riding high and it got to their heads. Add to that the Hokies finally find their running game and the conditions and you had a rout. VT had struggled the previous week against Nebraska with Tyrod Taylor making an incredible play at the end of the game after a poor game. Virginia Tech has Miami’s number and was due for a good performance.
Niemo: Did you know VT has finished as the highest ranked ACC team in the AP Poll 5 of their 6 years in the league (the lone year they didn’t they were one spot behind wake)?
Kartik: I am surprised they haven’t been the top team all six seasons. If I recall, the first season both Miami and VT were in the ACC, VT, Miami and FSU were 10-11-12 in the final AP Poll.
Niemo: How do you see the two football teams next year?
Kartik: VT and Miami are both going to be looking up at Georgia Tech for the next few years if Paul Johnson hangs around. The option that GT runs is difficult to stop, and the Yellow Jackets are going to be able to recruit more and more players that actually fit that style rather than converting players that were recruited by Chan Gailey’s staff to play other positions. I think the Hokies should be challenging them, but haven’t exactly stopped the Jackets recently. The game two seasons ago in Blacksburg was timed well: beginning of the year just as GT was figuring out the offense. Yet, it was still close, 20-17 or something if I recall correctly. That was before the Jackets steamrolled FSU, Miami and Georgia, amassing a ridiculous amount of rushing yards in the process.
This having been said, VT is still “the program” in the ACC. The GT ascendancy could be a temporary situation. Like Wake did, they are going to ride the wave for a few years, but unlike Wake they have the recruiting base and facilities to sustain a high level program.
This season, Miami showed it can run the ball and control the clock while rediscovering the big play downfield. The defense, however is still a major concern with a below average secondary and linebackers that are injury prone.
Niemo: How much do you miss the Orange Bowl and do you think playing so far north will hurt the canes long term?
Kartik: I still cannot drive by the Orange Bowl site, I am so torn up by it. It’s not a matter of playing so far north, because South Florida is a huge metro area, but it’s losing the character and home field advantage of the Orange Bowl that hurts.
Niemo: Man I hate Paul Johnson’s BS offense. I sure hope VT reviews what miami did to them last year. Any chance we could work together and get him fired? Maybe plant some drugs in his office or something?
Kartik: The problem here is the Paul Johnson has an original offense, annoying as it is, that is difficult to stop. What is more scary is Johnson is doing it with Chan Gailey’s recruits. So basically, he has pro set players running the option. Just wait until he recruits the right players.
Stopping it is very difficult. Miami did a great job, with John Lovett putting together a great scheme. Yet, the traditional offensive teams like Clemson and Wake threw and ran all over Miami.
[Note: My beef with the Johnson offense is you can have guys sprinting laterally at full speed, but not at the line of scrimmage (unless you are in the CFL or Arena League). I know he is doing it legally but I believe it gives the offense an unfair advantage and should be changed.]
Niemo: How awesome was that 30 in 30 movie on ESPN about the ‘u’? I think I’ve watched it five times. I sure hope you guys mail that to every recruit. The intro makes your hair stand up and yell, “c-a-n-e-s canes!”
Kartik: It was so good, I made several DVD copies of it. Great program, telling great stories about Canes history. I think it really told the story of how difficult it was to crack college football royalty in those days and the blowback that came to any outside that crashed the party. In today’s era of nonstop ESPN coverage of the sport, it is different and much more open, but in the early 1980s, the game was about a few elite programs that felt they had a birthright to remain on top indefinitely.
Niemo: Five years from now – who will be better in football – VT or miami? In basketball?
Kartik: VT will be better in football. That’s not to say Miami won’t return to a high level status, but I think as long as Beamer/Foster are at VT, the Hokies are going to be the signature program in the ACC Football. I do expect Miami to be better than Florida State long term though, but that is a story for another time.
Basketball? It’s a year to year thing. The conference is so competitive and suffers from so many one and dones and early draft entries that nobody really knows. One thing is for sure – both programs have been much much better than the elites in the ACC who said Miami and VT would kill ACC Basketball had believed.