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Canes Hoops: Bethune-Cookman Game Preview

Miami hopes to continue their early success against another in-state opponent

NCAA Basketball: Bethune-Cookman at Washington
Senior guard Isaiah Bailey leads the Wildcats in scoring so far this season
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The Canes will continue their non-conference slate Saturday as the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats travel down the coast to the Watsco Center. The Canes are coming off of a 96-58 victory over Stephen F. Austin on Tuesday, and will hope to continue the offensive efficiency that saw them make 54% of their field goals and 48% of their attempts from behind the arc. Miami currently has 4 players averaging over 16 points a game (Chris Lykes 21.5, Anthony Lawrence II 18.5, Dejan Vasiljevic 16.5, Ebuka Izundu 16) which combine to outscore their opponents (60 point per game allowed) through their first 2 games. Let’s take a look at their next opponent:

Bethune-Cookman is currently 2-2 on the season after winning their last 2 games. The Wildcats have looked like two completely different teams based on their competition so far. In their 2 wins against Trinity Baptist and Johnson University, Bethune has outscored their opponents 201-91. In their 2 losses against Depaul and Marquette, however, the Wildcats were outscored 172-117. The talent disparity between Marquette and Trinity Baptist is very evident, and the Canes definitely fall on the upper end of that spectrum. Last season’s co-MEAC champs are led by senior guard Isaiah Bailey. The Compton-native has scored 14.7 points per game on 44% shooting, doing most of his damage around the basket (Bailey shoots 16% from behind the arc). Manning the interior for Bethune-Cookman is Cleterll Pope, a junior forward from Northport, AL. Pope is the team leader in rebounding with 10.5 boards per game, while also scoring in double figures with 10.5 points per game.

The Canes wealth of options on the offensive end should overwhelm the Wildcats, while giving Miami a quality opportunity to get young guys like Sam Waardenburg, Anthony Mack and Deng Gak some quality burn as they try to feel out their games to hopefully develop regular roles by the time conference play rolls around. We’ll also be monitoring the status of Rodney Miller Jr’s redshirt, as there have been rumblings of the coaching staff reevaluating that decision now that Dewan Hernandez is sitting out. If we see Miller on the court Saturday, that likely would not be a good sign for Hernandez returning to the lineup.

Tip-off is at 2:00pm ET, and the game can be seen on the ACC Network.