The men’s Miami Hurricanes basketball team went 1-1 in the Hall of Fame Tip-off with a 10-point win over Providence and an 18-point loss to Maryland. The loss to Maryland left a sour taste, but it was definitely a learning experience.
The Canes are now 4-1, and here are 3 things I took away from the last two games.
Nijel Pack needs to get it going
Nijel Pack was arguably the best player in the transfer portal last season due to his elite shot making ability. After shooting 44% from 3 last season, Pack is shooting 29.6% from 3 this year for the Canes. I think there is a mix of reasons why Pack is struggling: new teammates, new system and he’s playing a new position.
Pack was such a great shooter off the catch, last season he was top 10 nationally in eFG% (80.8%) for catch and shoot scenarios. A lot of the threes that Pack has hit this season have come off pin downs or off ball screens. I would not be surprised if the coaching staff starts getting Pack involved in more off-ball movement to try to get him going. Offensively, this team has great potential if Nijel Pack is consistently hitting his jumpers.
More production from the Bench
Isaiah Wong was great in both games, he averaged 20 points and was very impressive. Offensively though, the Canes need more consistency from guys coming off the bench. In the two-game period the Miami bench averaged 7 ppg. Harlond Beverly went scoreless against Providence but had two layups against Maryland. Some of the freshmen played a bit as well, but none of them really contributed offensively.
Anthony Walker went scoreless in both games while only playing 14 total minutes. Bensley Joseph had 7 points against Providence and 1 point against Maryland. Anthony and Bensley are the two guys that really need to find a way to make more of an impact on offense. Walker was said to have improved his 3-point shot in the offseason but is 0/8 from deep so far. Bensley has shot efficiently this season, there are some moments where he can be more aggressive though.
In the last two games the Canes averaged 20 fouls per game. Miami had a combined 30 FT attempts compared to their opponents who had a combined 45 FT attempts. There were a few questionable foul calls in the Maryland game, but overall Miami needs to do a better job of playing aggressive without fouling.
Defensively, the game against Maryland was the worst game Miami Hurricanes basketball has played so far. The Canes gave up the most offensive rebounds they have all season. There were a few possessions where instead of boxing out, Miami just tried to go after the ball. There were a few times where Maryland had a bad miss off a jumper or Miami just read where the ball was going incorrectly, and it led to a Maryland offensive rebound because Miami didn’t have position.
As previously mentioned, Miami also committed a season high 21 fouls. Maryland was able to get to the free-throw line 23 times compared to Miami’s 12 times. There were a number of inexcusable fouls, whether it was fouling a ball handler at half court or fouling a jump shooter. Expect there to be a focus on playing aggressive and physical without committing fouls.
Miami as a team also looked very sluggish and slow with their rotations to start the game as well. Offensively, Maryland was able to move the ball well and shot 63% from the field in the first half. Maryland shot well from 3 and admittedly they were able to make some contested shots as well.
Prior to the Maryland game, I had posted some notes/keys to the game in order for Miami to win. So here are the results:
- Communicate effectively through screens. Maryland shot 60% from the field and 43% from 3PT range.
- Keep Reese off the offensive boards. Reese had 4 offensive rebounds.
- Can Miami force TOs and get out in transition? Forced 18 TOs and had 18 points off TOs
- Get Nijel Pack going. Nijel was 3/10 from the field and 1/4 from 3PT range.
- Keep an eye on Donta Scott and Hakim Hart. Combined for 38 points including 4 three pointers
Hopefully the men’s Miami Hurricanes Basketball team can bounce back Wednesday against St. Francis.