Your Miami Hurricanes are in the Final Four for the first time EVER! Miami is set to face the UConn Huskies who are viewed as the clear favorites to win it all. The Canes have been overlooked in every game this tournament, but they’ve still managed to find a way to win.
I’m no UConn insider, that would be Toast. After watching some film though, here are three things I’m looking at in Miami’s Final Four matchup with UConn.
Miami needs to capitalize on its guard play advantage.
Miami has leaned on elite guard play once again in their tournament run. The trio of Miller, Pack, and Wong has averaged a combined 51.5 PPG in the NCAA Tournament. If Miami is going to win this game these three guys need to score at least that combined amount. Offensively, the Canes have taken care of the ball at a high-level averaging under 10 turnovers per game.
The emergence of Wooga Poplar has been a huge reason why Miami even made it to the Final Four. Defensively, Poplar limited Drake leading scorer Tucker DeVries to 1-13 shooting and also limited First Team All-American Marcus Sasser to 4-12 shooting. Wooga is playing with more confidence on offense, averaging 12 points per game in the Tournament.
UConn has a solid back court, but they do struggle with ball security. The Huskies are #232/363 in turnover%. Miami will most likely look to be hard hedge or blitz ball screens in order to force turnovers. The Canes need to win the turnover battle by a comfortable margin if they are going to win today.
Jordan Hawkins the name to know when it comes to UConn’s back court. Hawkins averages over 16 points per game and is arguably the Huskies best shot creator. It was reported yesterday that Hawkins may be out or limited due to an illness. Obviously, Jordan Hawkins not playing would be huge for UConn, but the Huskies are still a deep team.
Limiting 2nd Chance Points
UConn is one of the best teams at attacking the offensive glass, they have the second highest offensive rebound rate in college basketball. Sanogo, Jackson and Clingan average a combined 6.5 offensive rebounds per game. Sanogo is an absolute beast on the interior; Miami needs to limit him as much as possible.
Miami is giving up an average of 8.5 offensive rebounds per game while UConn averages 10.5 per game. The Canes need their guards to rebound well in order to have success today.
Taking Advantage of Mismatches
Miami has a number of guys that can create for themselves, and it will be interesting to see how UConn matches up with Miami. It would not be surprising if UConn puts their best wing defender Andre Jackson on Isaiah Wong.
Wong will most likely be in for a tough matchup with Andre Jackson, but we can capitalize on other favorable matchups. Alex Karaben is a solid freshman talent for UConn, but he is limited as a defender and whoever he is guarding should look to expose that matchup.
The Huskies are known for their great depth, there isn’t much drop off when their bench players come in. Donovan Clingan is a 7’2 backup center that will come in for Sanogo. Miami needs to get Clingan out on the perimeter and attack him in the pick and roll. Look for Norchad Omier to even take him off the dribble since Clingan is limited in terms of lateral quickness.
Miami has a shorter rotation than UConn, the Canes need to make sure they stay out of foul trouble in order to stay in this game. Norchad Omier has had foul trouble in previous games, that cannot be the case today.
UConn is a very physical team that does foul at a high rate, 24% of their opponents’ points come from the foul line. (7th highest amount in college basketball) Miami has shot over 80% from the free throw line during the Tournament.
Miami plays its biggest game in program history today. Miami is in for a tough matchup, but I will take our guys over anyone left in the Tournament. Tipoff is at 8:49 ET. GO CANES!