The ‘Canes escaped Pennsylvania with a win on Wednesday. It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t fun to watch, but at the end of the day it goes down as a W and the ‘Canes still have a 0 in the loss column.
Today the ‘Canes return to Coral Gables to take on the North Florida Osprey, at 4pm local time. The Osprey come into the game 1-6, following a 101-77 win over the Edward Waters Tiger of the NAIA.
The ‘Canes will look to correct their shooting woes from the last contest as the Osprey allow 90.6 PPG. For a ‘Canes team that scored only 19 points in the first half on Wednesday, and shot just 36.7% from the field, this may be the medicine the doctor ordered. With their huge matchup against Minnesota right around the corner, the ‘Canes need to use today’s game to right the ship. The ‘Canes haven’t lost yet, but performances like Wednesday night can’t happen if the ‘Canes expect to beat other ranked opponents.
Though the Osprey aren’t a very defensive team, they do manage to score at will, averaging 78.6 PPG. This is a contest that should give us a better inclination of how good the ‘Cane defense, which is allowing just 51.3 PPG, really is. Perimeter defense will be the key to how unsuccessful the ‘Canes are in this game. On Wednesday, the Explorers shot 0-15 from 3-point land, but don’t expect the Osprey to lay an egg like that. They have already attempted 191 3-pointers on the season (101 more than the ‘Canes) and shoot it at 44%. If the guards don’t cover the 3-point line, the Osprey could make them pay.
So, what’s the final verdict? The ‘Canes will win, and win big. Look for Bruce Brown Jr. and Lonnie Walker IV to correct their cold shooting, while the bigs of Miami feast down low. Dewan Huell was a monster against La Salle, and really the only offensive bright spot for the team. Look for him to continue his hot shooting, and continue to provide on the glass. This is the final tuneup game before the huge matchup with Minnesota in the ACC/Big 10 challenge. The ‘Canes shouldn’t be overlooking the Osprey, but let’s get in their, build a lead and get out unscathed. Oh, yeah... and maybe make some free throws.