NCAA March Madness Preview – Miami Hurricanes

Miami Hurricanes

ACC (21-11, 10-8)

 by Jacob Young

After a ten win season against the loaded ACC, the Hurricanes are back in the tournament, aiming for back to back Sweet 16 appearances. Miami has been a slow-paced, defensive minded team since Jim Larranaga arrived in 2012, and this year is no exception. The Hurricanes score about 70 points per contest, but only allow 63.4 points to opponents. For Miami to win games in the tournament, they will have to control pace and slow their opponent down.

Big Wins: 1/28 North Carolina (77-62), 2/20 at Virginia (54-48), 2/25 Duke (55-50)

Bad Losses: 1/4 at Syracuse (55-70), 1/18 at Wake Forest (79-96), 2/27 at Virginia Tech (61-66)

Coach: Jim Larranaga

Why They Can Surprise:

As stated above, if Miami is able to dictate the pace of the game, they will have an advantage over their opponent. Miami was able to slow down notoriously fast-paced North Carolina and Duke this season, holding them to 62 and 50 points, respectively. In a road contest against slow-paced Virginia, Miami won a rock fight in overtime by a score of 54-48. Miami wants to grind games out and win ugly and they have proven to be able to do that against any kind of opponent. Also, about half of the players on this team have good tournament experience, having made the Sweet 16 a year ago.

Why They Can Disappoint:

One reason Miami likes to limit possessions is because the offense can look stale for long periods of time. Look no further than their most recent game against North Carolina in the ACC Tournament where Miami only scored 53 points. They also failed to break 60 points in losses to Iowa State, Florida, Florida State twice, at Duke and in wins against Virginia and Duke. Miami only scored 80 twice in conference play, both times against lowly N.C. State. They only shoot about 45 percent from the field and are prone to turnovers, with almost 20 percent of their possessions ending in a turnover.

Probable Starters:

Ja’Quan Newton, Junior, Guard, 13.4 ppg, 3.4 apg, 3.6 rpg
Bruce Brown, Freshman, Guard, 11.9 ppg, 3.2 apg, 5.8 rpg
Davon Reed, Senior, Guard, 15.0 ppg, 2.5 apg, 4.8 rpg
Anthony Lawrence, Sophomore, Forward, 6.9 ppg, 3.8 rpg
Kamari Murphy, Senior, Forward, 7.3 ppg, 7.5 rpg

Key Role Players:

D.J. Vasiljevic, Freshman, Guard, 6.1 ppg
Dewan Huell, Freshman, Forward, 5.8 ppg, 3.2 rpg
Ebuka Izundu, Sophomore, Forward4.2 ppg, 3.0 rpg

By the Numbers:

Scoring Offense: 70.2 (249th in nation, 13th in conference)

Scoring Defense: 63.4 (22, 2)

Field-Goal Percentage: 45.7 (108, 10)

Field-Goal Defense: 41.0 (45, 4)

Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.4 (268, 14)

Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 36.2 (125, 11)

Free-Throw Percentage: 72.0 (117, 8)

Rebound Margin: 4.9 (41, 3)

Assists Per Game: 12.0 (272, 15)

Turnovers Per Game: 12.8 (138, 12)

Recent Postseason Appearances:

2016    NCAA Round of  64 win over Buffalo

2016    NCAA Round of 32 win over Wichita State

2016    NCAA Regional Semifinal loss to Villanova

2015    NIT     First Round win over North Carolina Central

2015    NIT     Second Round win over Alabama

2015    NIT     Quarterfinal win over Richmond

2015    NIT     Semifinal win over Temple

2015    NIT     Final loss to Stanford

2013    NCAA Round of 64 win over Pacific

2013    NCAA Round of 32 win over Illinois

2013    NCAA Regional Semifinal loss to Marquette

2012    NIT     First Round win over Valparaiso

2012    NIT     Second Round loss to Minnesota

2011    NIT     First Round win over Florida Atlantic

2011    NIT     Second Round win over Missouri State

2011    NIT     Quarterfinal loss to Alabama

2009    NIT     First Round win over Providence

2009    NIT     Second Round loss to Florida

2008    NCAA Round of 64 win over St. Mary’s

2008    NCAA Round of 32 loss to Texas

2006    NIT     First Round win over Oklahoma State

2006    NIT     Second Round win over Creighton

2006    NIT     Quarterfinal loss to Michigan

2005    NIT     First Round loss to South Carolina

*all team stats through 3/5

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