Wichita State is no ordinary #11 seed.
The 'Canes are aware.
Coming off an impressive handling of the Arizona Wildcats (they led by as many as 24 in the 1st half), and heading into today's contest the #1 defensive team in the country per Kenpom, there is little doubt they pose an extraordinary challenge today (12:10 EST CBS).
Odds makers even have them a 2-3 point favorite Vs UM.
So what makes them so tough?
Well experience for one.
This is a team that has an outstanding back court in Fred VanVleet and Ron Baker.
Both have been part of deep NCAA runs already.
They are also not just good, but elite defensively.
Think Virginia all over again.
So what can the Hurricanes do to make it to the Sweet 16 and get the win today?
They need to match the Shockers intensity and take care of the ball.
Angel Rodriguez and Sheldon McClellan also absolutely need to be at their bests.
If UM can force some turnovers and get some easy buckets in transition, that would also help.
Tonye Jekiri has the size to give WSU some trouble in the paint.
But Miami absolutely must, must, MUST limit their turnovers and play 40 minutes of focused ball.
Wichita State likes to batter you with physicality and toughness.
If the Hurricanes get through the Round of 32, they will be battle tested and have earned it.
They are very capable. But they need the kind of performance that led to wins over UVA, Duke, Louisville, Utah, and Butler.
Stay tuned 'Canes fans.
Game Notes Courtesy UM:
No. 10/11 Miami marches on as a third seed in the NCAA Tournament, facing 11th-seeded Wichita State on Saturday, March 19 at 12:10 p.m. in Providence, R.I.
Catch the game on CBS with Ian Eagle, Chris Webber, Len Elmore and Evan Washburn on the call. Also check out the game on 560 WQAM radio with Joe Zagacki, the Voice of the Hurricanes and on NCAA Radio with Scott Graham and Donny Marshall.
Head coach Jim Larrañaga has a 587-390 overall record in his 32nd season as a head coach. He is 117-56 in his fifth season at the University of Miami, with a 54-34 mark in ACC play. Coach L is 8-6 in the NCAA Tournament overall and 3-1 with the Hurricanes.
The Polls (as of March 18)
AP: Miami -10
USA TODAY: Miami - 11
KenPom.com: Miami - 14, Wichita State - 8
NCAA RPI: Miami - 9, Wichita State - 47
Miami’s 17-consecutive weeks in the polls top the school record of 12 from 2001-02.
UM has been ranked in the AP’s top 15 for 14 weeks this season, eclipsing the previous school record of 10 in the 1959-60 season.
The Canes are ranked 12-or-better in the AP for the eighth time this season, 15th time under Coach L, 19th time since 1985-86 and 26th time since 1959-60.
Game day temperatures: Coral Gables - 82/71; Wichita, Kan. - 52/28.
Senior guard Sheldon McClellan is the ninth-most efficient offensive player in the country among players used in 20 percent of possessions, and 28th overall, according to KenPom.com on March 18. McClellan has posted the 14th-best shooting percentage (50.0%) in the country among guards, and has the top shooting percentage among guards in the ACC, according to stats on NCAA.org on March 18. McClellan’s 2-point shooting percentage is 57.2 percent this season.
The 2015-16 season marks the 10-year anniversary of Coach Jim Larrañaga and George Mason University’s Cinderella run to the 2006 Final Four.
Murphy and Reed Post Double-Doubles in NCAA Tournament
Juniors Kamari Murphy and Davon Reed each posted a double-double against Buffalo. Murphy scored a season-high tying 11 points to go with his career-high tying 13 rebounds, and Reed had 10 points and tied a career-best with 12 boards. This was Murphy’s fourth game this season with 10+ boards, and his fifth game with double-digit points. This was Reed’s second game with 10+ rebounds, added to his 12 against Richmond in the NIT a season ago.
Rodriguez and McClellan Post 20-Point Games
Against Buffalo, Angel Rodriguez and Sheldon McClellan each posted 20+ points. Rodriguez’ 24 were a season high, his fifth 20-point game at Miami and his first 20-point game of the season. McClellan notched 20 points, his 13th 20-point game at Miami and ninth of the season. Mac has scored 10+ points in 21-straight games.
Murphy Hosts Block Party
Junior Kamari Murphy swatted four Buffalo Bulls’ shots, setting a new school record for blocks in an NCAA Tournament game. The previous record was three, held by John Salmons (vs. Lafayette, 3/12/99) and Jimmy Graham (vs. Texas, 3/23/08)
Ja’Quan Newton has at least 10 points and two assists in each of his last three games.
Davon Reed has scored 17+ points in four of his last seven games.
Sheldon McClellan has tallied double-digit points in 21-straight games.
Angel Rodriguez has recorded 17+ points in four of the last six outings. He also has hit a 3-pointer in 11-straight outings. He has posted 3+ assists in 13 of the last 15 games, including nine vs. Virginia Tech in the ACC Tournament.
Kamari Murphy has pulled down 4+ rebounds in 10 of the last 11 outings.