2024-06-18 7:15 AM

Larranaga Still Dancing, Local Hoops Star Sends Miami to Final 4!

When you think of March Madness, you think Cinderella! Who will be this years ‘George Mason?’ Well wouldn’t you know the master of upsets himself is back in the final 4. Don’t bet against Coach L in March! The 73-year-old head coach of the Miami Hurricanes, Jim Larrañaga is still dancing literally and figuratively. Known for his upbeat pre-game and post-game celebrations he is leading his latest team as they dance their way to Houston.

Sunday’s 88-81 victory over the Texas Longhorns in the elite 8, came on the 17-year anniversary of his Patriots knocking off the Uconn Huskies to advance to his first final 4 in 2006. As the universe would have it, Jim and his Canes are going to Texas to face off against that same familiar foe in the huskies out of the Big East conference.

While this is Miami’s first final 4, they are hardly the underdog that Coach L’s team was in 2006.

 Miami came into the NCAA tournament winners of the regular season in the historic powerhouse ACC conference. The Big East and ACC conferences are owners of 13 of the last 20 national titles, with UConn also claiming one while members of the American Conference.

The Hurricanes will be led by among others 5th year senior Jordan Miller a Loudoun County Virginia Native.  Miller had 27 points, on 7 of 7 shooting and going 13 for 13 on the line en route to an 88-81 win Sunday evening in Kansas City. Miller, a local 6′ 7″ guard, got his start in Northern Virginia playing at Loudoun Valley High School. He was the 2017 Virginia AAAA player of the year. Miller led his team to a 30-1 record and a state title. It was the first championship in school history.

Miller would then go on to start playing college ball right here at George Mason University playing under the head coach Dave Paulsen. At Mason, Miller was a budding star so naturally when the Patriots fired Paulsen in 2021 many other college coaches came calling. Enter Coach L, who went back to his old stomping grounds to recruit one of George Mason’s leading players.

Jordan enters the final 4 having averaged 15.4 pts, 6.1 rebounds and 2.7 assists in his 2nd year with the Hurricanes. Jordan was very eager to erase and forget last year’s heartbreaking loss to Kansas in the elite 8 where they blew a half time lead. Underdogs San Diego State and Florida Atlantic will face off in the opening semifinal while Miami will take the court on Saturday night at 8:49.

So, while you may remember Coach L as the underdog, don’t be fooled this time around, this is a veteran led team. With Coach L at the helm and the only coach who has been to a final 4 the Canes look to knock out the only true-blue blood left in this year’s wild tournament.  

After 40 years, 4 schools and numerous accolades, the coach who stole America’s heart in 2006 is still producing ‘dancers.’ Will this finally be his year? Will this be the year he cements his legacy in college basketball lore? Owner of 697 career division 1 wins, a national title championship would surely send him to the basketball hall of fame if he’s not already there.

In the end it only seems fitting that in a year that saw a 16 knock off a 1 and 15 beat a 2 that the true Cinderella Jimmy Larranaga leader of the kryptonite kids from Fairfax, VA, takes home the National title.

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