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What Miami Football Can Take From Canes Hoops' Big Win Over Minnesota

Canes Hoops laid out a solid gameplan for the upcoming ACC Championship Game

NCAA Basketball: Miami at Minnesota
Ja'Quan Newton and Chris Lykes helped the Canes take care of business against Minnesota on Wednesday Night.
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

On Wednesday night, Canes Hoops had their first big test of the season, traveling up north to take on the #12 ranked Minnesota Gophers in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The Canes pulled out an important quality road victory, taking down their Big Ten foe 86-81. It was an inspiring performance, with almost every player taking care of their individual responsibilities. The U is currently the only school in the country ranked in the top 10 in both football and basketball, so each team can just look to another group on campus to see another successful program. Let's look at how the performance of Miami Basketball on Wednesday can guide the Canes to victory this Saturday on the gridiron:

NCAA Basketball: North Florida at Miami
Dewan Huell has been unstoppable around the basket for the Canes
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Win the battle inside:

The MVP so far of this young basketball season is Dewan Huell. He has regularly led the Canes in scoring while providing great rim protection, and Wednesday was no different. Huell dropped a career-high 23 points despite having his hands full with two of the best big men in the Big Ten, Jordan Murphy and Reggie Lynch. The Canes other big men struggled, as Sam Waardenburg and Ebuka Izundu scored 0 points combined, but Huell's career game set the tone for the rest of the players on the court for Miami.

On Saturday, the most important matchups will be in the trenches. Clemson's defensive line is heralded as one of the top units in the country, so Miami's offensive line will have to have a career day and neutralize the best defensive front they've seen this year. The Canes struggled establishing the run and protecting Malik Rosier last week against Pitt, and both of those aspects of the offense will be crucial to Miami's success in Saturday's championship game. I'm sure many of you would even argue that Miami's defensive line may be equal to or better than Clemson's, and RJ McIntosh and company need to run wild on Saturday to stifle Clemson's run game and force QB Kelly Bryant into some tough plays.

NCAA Football: Miami at Pittsburgh
Malik Rosier's play will be crucial to the success of the Miami offense
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Take care of the ball:

Ja'Quan Newton has been somewhat of a score-first point guard throughout his time in Coral Gables, but Wednesday night may have been the best performance I've seen from the Philly-native. Newton is typically a turnover machine, finishing last season with more turnovers than assists, but he managed to dish out 9(!!!) assists while committing only 1 turnover against the Gophers. If this is a sign of what we can come to expect from Newton, this is going to be a great year for the Canes. Miami's starters had only 3 turnovers between them, so the team as a whole made great decisions in the big win. Minnesota committed 4 more turnovers than the Canes, which could have been the difference in a 5 point game.

Clemson has an elite defense, but while the Miami offense has struggled at times this season, we should still be able make plays and score enough to win when paired with a quality defensive showing. One thing that will cause this game to turn quickly for the worst would be turnovers by our office. Rosier has been pretty good for the majority of the year at taking care of the ball, but he did have a 3 INT game vs Virginia Tech and was stripped to seal the game vs Pitt last week. Obviously, Miami puts a high emphasis on winning the turnover battle (have you heard of the Turnover Chain maybe?) and will need to do so again on Saturday. That is very doable for the Canes, but the Offense needs to make sure they are not making that task more difficult.

NCAA Basketball: Miami at Minnesota
Anthony Lawrence had a hot start for the Canes against Minnesota
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Start Fast

Some big shots by Anthony Lawrence II and Bruce Brown Jr to start the game got the Canes an early lead and made Minnesota play from behind for the majority of the game. This somewhat limited the production of the Gophers talented big men, as Minnesota started to shy away from their bread and butter inside as they felt the game slip away. Jordan Murphy and Reggie Lynch still had good performances, but the fast pace of the game did not help Minnesota's game plan.

One way to make a team one-dimensional on offense is to build a quick lead. This has not been Miami typical path to victory this year, as they've typically had slow starts on offense only to come storming back in the second half. The Canes were unable to follow that path to victory last week, as they're second half surge was no enough to make up for the first (and second) half struggles. The Canes have fared well in close games this season, as they've won every game decided by single digits this season, but I wouldn't recommend the Canes relying on their ability to finish strong.

NCAA Football: Notre Dame at Miami
Deejay Dallas is one of many freshman the Canes need to step up on Saturday
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Get contributions from the freshmen:

Chris Lykes had his best game of the season on Wednesday, igniting the second unit with swift drives to the basket and knocking down shots from behind the arc to the tune of 10 points of the bench. Lonnie Walker IV also contributed 6 points, though he is still trying to find his rhythm within the offense. This is a young team that will need as much production from their freshman as they can get, as there are 3 regularly in the rotation.

The Canes football team has seen its #1 RB, #1 WR, and #1 TE all lost to season ending injuries. Miami has weathered the storm pretty well considering they still managed to start the season with 10 straight wins. On offense, Navaughn Donaldson, Deejay Dallas, Jeff Thomas, and Mike Harley are all freshman who need to contribute to help fill in the gaps. On defense, Trajan Bandy, Amari Carter, and Johnathan Garvin have been regular contributors but need to play like upperclassmen to help the defense play to the level needed to pull out the win.

With just one day left until the Canes and Clemson meet in Charlotte, we'll hope to see a similar performance from Miami football as we did with Miami basketball on Wednesday.