Coming off a rough way to begin the year, Syracuse travels to Coral Gables to take on Miami inside the Watsco Center. With a chance to be blown back down to .500, the Orange need to be ready to handle whatever the Jim Larranaga’s Hurricanes come equipped with. Here’s what you need to know about Miami:
Good Matchup for SU:
Defense isn’t what the Hurricanes are predicated on. They’re a scoring machine, but they win plenty of games with a combined score close to 200. According to college-basketball reference, the Canes rank 318th out of 358 teams in terms of defensive rating, something Syracuse’s shooting should take advantage of. Against Virginia, Syracuse did not shoot well, that’s not a secret. The Cavs’ defense is a big reason why. A program with a focus on defensive play for years showed it against the Orange on New Year’s Day. Miami is quite possibly on the other end of that spectrum, Syracuse has a chance to remind its fans and college basketball fans around the country that it has the potential to be one of the best shooting teams out there.
Miami possesses a ton of star power, Isaiah Wong, Kameron McGusty, and Charlie Moore have all been studs in the backcourt for Larranaga’s squad this season. This three-headed monster offers a lot to its team; McGusty is the go-to scorer for this team, the senior currently ranks 5th in the ACC in points per game. For Moore, another senior, this is the fourth stop in his collegiate career. The Chicago native began his college basketball journey at Cal in 2016. He bounced around after that season, spending a few years here and there between Kansas and DePaul before finally landing in Miami for his sixth-year redshirt Season season. While the veteran certainly provides leadership for this team, he’s also a superb distributor, currently sitting in the top ten among ACC players in assists per game. Wong outworks both the old guys in terms of time on the floor, the sophomore stud averages over 33 minutes per game, while scoring over 16 each night out, good for second among the Canes, just behind McGusty.
With three ACC games in the books, the Canes are 3-0 in conference. With wins over Wake Forest, NC State, and Clemson, Miami has shown it can stand and fight with some of the better teams the ACC has to offer. While Syracuse does have 2 games played in conference this season thus far, it doesn’t have the performances Miami does. The Cane’s took down three really solid teams, ones that would probably give Syracuse tons of trouble.
On paper, it seems like Miami has the upper hand. Though with the Canes biggest flaw being their defense, Syracuse has a chance to take advantage and pull an upset in the sunshine state.