Fresh off their win over Duke, I’d have to say Miami is team number two that I’m concerned about come March. Last week we gave you Baylor as a team to watch come March and now we’re adding the Hurricanes to this list.
Miami dismantled the Blue Devils 90-63 on Wednesday night and did it with hot shooting and timely defense. They shot almost 57% from the field while holding their opponent below 30%. This is a team that can beat you on the perimeter and in the paint especially with a healthy Reggie Johnson. The big man surprised everyone and played in this game when most thought he was going to be weeks away. Johnson had two points and five rebounds in 16 minutes. He was augmented by Kenny Kadji who is a big with the ability to break you down as he did time and time again to Mason Plumlee. Kadji had 22 points and six rebounds.
The perimeter is held down by Durand Scott and Shane Larkin. The two combine for almost 26 points and almost seven assists per game. Scott shoots 31% from long range while Larkin is just over 40%. They also have Trey McKinney-Jones as the 5th option and he’s the sharpshooter to keep defenses honest.
My problem with the Hurricanes is trusting them enough to make a run when they are capable of a stinker. Granted their losses came in 2012, but they came against Florida Gulf Coast, Indiana State and Arizona. Miami has road games with NC State and Duke still to come. I will be more impressed with this team if they can win Saturday at home against Florida State. I have this sneaky suspicion it will be a struggle since it’s a rivalry game and this team will be reading their press clippings all week.
I will say this…they have six seniors including most of their important players. The urgency of the end of their careers should motivate them come March. They also have Jim Larranaga at the helm which is a big upgrade from their past coaches. His experience with George Mason will be good to pull from just in case Miami makes a run of their own. Beware advancing them at your own risk!