The Canes started this past week going on the road to Orlando to face off against UCF, and took care of business winning 79-70. Miami received a well-rounded effort with four players finishing in double digits (McGusty, Vasiljevic, Beverly and Lykes), but it was probably the play of freshman Harlond Beverly that was the most surprising/important development. Miami severely struggled from beyond the arc, shooting only 5-20, but the defense and rebounding were clutch. Hopefully UCF now continues to win and this road victory becomes a resume booster in March.
Miami returned home on Saturday to face Quinnipiac on Saturday, and while the first half was a little too close for comfort, the second half was all Miami en route to a dominating 80-52 win. Once again, Miami was led by the same four players reaching double digit scoring, and once again McGusty led the team in scoring. The Canes also found their shooting stroke, shooting a blistering 46% from three in this one.
This week, Miami travels to Charleston, SC to take place in the Charleston Classic. The tournament features some big names: Florida, Xavier and UConn in addition to Missouri State, Saint Josephs, Towson and Buffalo.
Thursday, November 21, 11:30AM ESPNU
Miami opens the tournament against Missouri State on Thursday with an early start time so be sure to set the DVR if you’re not going to be free before lunch time on Thursday. The Bears are 2-2 with victories over Alabama State and Cleveland State. Neither of those teams are any good, and Missouri State won comfortably in both matchups. The first loss was to Little Rock, a rather average program, that upset Missouri State with a game winner with 2 seconds left in the first game of the season. The second loss was this past weekend against Xavier by only 3 points, in which Missouri State gave Xavier all it could handle. It is still early in the season, obviously, but thus far, Missouri State has played good defense and fantastic three point defense. They feature a predominately experienced roster with juniors and seniors getting the most of the minutes. This will be a very tough opening game for the Canes.
Friday, November 22, 12:00PM or 2:00PM ESPNU
Miami will be playing either Florida or Saint Josephs on Friday in the second game of the Classic. The expectation is that Florida will defeat Saint Josephs, but Florida comes into the tournament 2-2 with losses to Florida State and Connecticut. Granted, both of those programs are substantially better than Saint Josephs, but clearly the Gators can be beaten. Expectations are high this year in Gainesville, especially after the Gators signed one of the best recruiting classes in the country. However, outside of 6’10” senior Kerry Blackshear, the contributions come exclusively from freshman and sophomore. The Gators are also small, with everyone outside of Blackshear being 6’5″ or under. Now is the time to beat the Gators, as the talent will start to catch up as the season progresses.
Saint Joseph’s also comes into this tournament 2-2, with wins over Bradley and Connecticut (figure that one out). The losses were by double digits on the road to Old Dominion and Loyola Chicago. Thus far in the season, the Hawks have been disastrous on defense, allowing teams to get second chance points, shoot 44% from three point range, while also giving up a lot of free throws. But they get by thanks to shooting a lot of three pointer themselves with an overall decent clip. They too are young, though they do have experience at point guard.
Sunday, November 24, Time TBD, Check ESPN Networks
Not going to spend too much time on this one as it is impossible to predict which of these four teams Miami will face on Sunday. Hopefully it is Miami playing in the championship game, and if so, the likely opponent would be Xavier. The two class teams on this side are Xavier and Connecticut, but as pointed out earlier, UConn is very inconsistent. No matter who Miami plays in this final game, however, could wind up being a good win come March should the Canes notch the victory. Even right now Buffalo is a top-100 team according to KenPom.
Women: Maggie Dixon Classic: North Carolina AT&T; DePaul or Arkansas State
Friday and Saturday, November 22nd and 23rd in Chicago, Illinois
The Women closed out their opening homestand with two victories last week. First, Miami dominated North Florida by 23. The Canes were led by Kelsey Marshall and Beatrice Mompremier each notching 16 points and the Canes emptying the bench. In the second, while the Canes disposed of IUPUI 74-65. It looked like Miami would win this one with ease, being up 12 at halftime, but IUPUI made a massive run in the 3rd quarter to take a lead into the 4th quarter. However, Miami got a big effort from Endia Banks (23 points), Beatrice Mompremier again (20 points) and Mykea Gray (16 points) in order to seal the victory.
This week, the Canes Women travel to Chicago to play in the Maggie Dixon Classic. Miami opens with North Carolina AT&T, who are 1-2 overall with both losses coming to “Power Conference” schools in NC State (by 36) and George (by 18). Miami will be expected to easily handle the opener, setting up the likely showdown with DePaul. DePaul is 2-1 coming off a 21 point loss against top 10 ten Oregon State. However, DePaul is also ranked, and has won the last two Maggie Dixon Classics as they’ve been held in Chicago. This will be a big time test for Miami, and will certainly go a long way in the resume column come the end of the season
I’m on the fence about the Charleston Classic. It would not surprise me at all if Miami loses the opener to Missouri State. It also would not surprise me at all to see Miami make its way to the Championship Game. As such, I’m going to say Miami beats Missouri State by 3, beats Florida by 11, and then loses to Xavier by 9 in the Championship.
This field is stacked. Missouri State can really play, and that game tipping at 11:30AM is a problem. With that said, I think the Canes win that by about 5-10 points. After that, things get tougher, but I still think the Canes can beat Florida. The freshmen are playing and I like the Canes here. After that, Xavier is a bridge too far but the Canes go 2-1 in Charleston and start to build a resume for the postseason.