WASHINGTON – One of the major themes circulating around the Verizon Center during Wednesday’s Media Day was the fact that Miami (FL) coach Jim Larranaga was coming back to the area that made him famous.
As most everybody knows, Larranaga was in charge of nearby George Mason before migrating down south to the ACC school in the fall of 2011. During his 14 years in charge – which began in 1997 – nothing stands out more than the Patriots’ unlikely run to the 2006 Final Four.
When Coach Larranaga cut down the nets after upsetting Connecticut, he did so in the Verizon Center.
“This is not just any arena,” Larranaga said when asked about his thoughts on the venue having any significance.
While all of that is true, the Hurricanes last played on Georgetown’s court in 2004. Marquette, on the other hand, comes in just about every year and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
So which team will feel more at home come Thursday night?
Vander Blue perked up at the idea of playing on a familiar court this weekend.
“We played Georgetown here and had a great game,” Blue said, even though Marquette dropped a 63-55 Big East road game last month in the nation’s capital.
“We’ve practiced here a few times, and we’re pretty familiar with the situation, pretty familiar with DC. We stay at the same hotel all the time so it’s pretty similar, so that should help us in some type of way.”
Despite the fact the Golden Eagles are just 1-4 at the Verizon Center since joining the Big East in 2005, Blue still likes the routine and even more so, his team’s mindset.
“Everybody is about winning,” Blue said with a serious look on his face when talking to a group of reporters in the locker room.
“Everybody is locked in and everybody wants to win, that’s all it’s about. You’re going to have a little fun playing a game, but when it’s all said and done, we just want to win. Whatever it takes, whoever it takes, it doesn’t matter it’s about winning.”