Opponent: Miami Hurricanes
Location: Watsco Center, Coral Gables, FL
Date: Saturday, February 17
Time: 12:00pm EST
TV: CBS or stream on the WatchESPN app
Miami presents opportunity for Syracuse to pick up resume building win
Miami (18-7, 7-6 in the ACC) started the season 10-0 and climbed the polls all the way to #6 in the country before losing to New Mexico State in the Diamond Head Classic a couple days before Christmas.
The Hurricanes are a good team. They are ranked 30th in the RPI and Joe Lunardi from ESPN currently has Miami as a 6 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
That being said, Miami doesn’t have any resume defining wins this season. . The team’s best win came against Florida State at home on January 7.
The Hurricanes suffered a big loss a couple weeks ago when sophomore Bruce Brown Jr., the team’s second leading scorer and top passer, injured his left foot in practice. Brown had surgery and is expected to be out until mid-March.
Saturday’s game presents Syracuse with a reasonably winnable game that would give the Orange a much needed boost to their tournament resume. With Brown out, the door is open even more for Syracuse to try and steal a win in Coral Gables.
6’11” sophomore forward Dewan Huell (pictured below) has enjoyed a good season. Huell is averaging 11.8 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. His 18 points and 12 rebounds were critical in the Hurricanes 78-75 overtime win over Louisville on January 24. As good as Huell has been, he has struggled lately and is only averaging 3.8 points per game over the last 4 games.Embed from Getty Images
Freshman guard Lonnie Walker IV (pictured below) is a score first player. He’s averaging 11.1 points per game and is shooting 41.3% from the field. He’s proven he can score on the big stage as he posted double digit scoring efforts in eight straight ACC games from January 13 to February 7. He put up 25 points and made 4 three pointers against Louisville. Walker has been struggling recently as well and is 0-9 from three point range the past two games.Embed from Getty Images
In a nutshell, Miami is a good team because they play great defense and take care of the ball.
The Hurricanes are fourth in the ACC in scoring defense as they only allow opponents to score an average of 66.2 points per game. An interesting statistic to follow on Saturday will be Syracuse’s three point shooting. The Orange are shooting 42.3% over the past two games but Miami holds opponents to 32% shooting from the three point line.
Miami only turns it over 11.7 times per game, 3rd in the conference. The Hurricanes will be tested on Saturday as Syracuse leads the conference in steals.
Miami doesn’t distribute the ball very well. The team is 12th in the league in assists and averages 13.2 assists per game. It’s only gotten worse with the injury to Brown. Brown averaged 4 assists per game. The zone could cause fits for the Hurricanes if they don’t pass the ball effectively.
If it’s a close game, Miami’s poor free throw shooting could bite them. The Hurricanes only shoot 66.4% from the line which is 314th in the nation.
Syracuse vs. Miami All-Time Series
Syracuse leads the all-time series 17-8. The teams last met on March 8, 2017 in the ACC Tournament at Barclays Center. The Hurricanes won 62-57 and official ended the Orange’s hopes of making the NCAA Tournament.
Syracuse and Miami first played on December 28, 1963 and the Orange pulled out an 86-85 victory in overtime.
Miami wins 72-68