Miami is loaded. Unfortunately, for most of the season, they’ve been going the wrong way. After beating Stanford in the 4th game of the season, kenpom.com had them as the 15th most efficient team in the nation. Heading into last weekend they were 42nd.
But sometimes all it takes to turn around a season is one game. The Hurricanes were 3-4 in conference, and coming off a brush with disaster in a 1-point home win against bottom feeder Boston College. Then they stomped North Carolina.
That’s life in the ACC.
Now the ‘Canes (14-6, 4-4) host Florida State (18-4, 6-3), who have lost two straight.
The Hurricanes offense is essentially a three man affair.
Davon Reed, a 6-6 senior, leads the team at 15.5 point per game. He takes more 3s than 2s, and makes 40%. He’s steady, and can bail Miami out of a lot of bad possessions.
The other problem is freshman Bruce Brown. If the 6-5 freshman returns to Miami instead of jumping into the professional ranks, he’s a future 1st Team All ACC player. He averages 12.1 per game, knocks down 42% of his 3s, and excels at using his size and strength which is rare so early in a career.
Junior Ja’Quan Newton scores 15.2 per game, but this is primarily through volume.
Kamari Murphy, a 23-year old senior, and 5* freshman Dewan Huell give them long and athletic bodies on the interior.
The weird thing about having so many blue chips recruits on the roster is that this may be the worst Miami offense in Jim Larranaga’s tenure at Miami. They’re currently ranked 85th nationally, and have issues with turnovers and getting to the line. They excel at putting up shots and then getting their owns misses, so defensive rebounding will be a key. Like all of Larranaga’s teams, they play at a grinding pace, so FSU will need to find ways (like hey, maybe a lead!) to speed them up.
The flip-side to that offense is that this may be Coach Larranaga’s best defense. Only Louisville and Virginia have a better defensive eFG% than Miami. They put great pressure on shots, and are a decent rebounding team. They’ll mix in man and zone. The latter is primarily a tool to slow down other teams, but it worked really well against North Carolina so I expect a bunch in this game.
The Seminoles need to win to stay a game behind North Carolina and Virginia in the ACC standings. The top four seeds in the ACC tournament receive a double-bye.
The game tips at 8 PM and will be broadcast regionally and ESPN3. Miami opened as 2 1⁄2 point favorites.