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UM vs Auburn: Running Diary NCAA Tournament Second Round

We’re on to the Sweet Sixteen!

NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament - Second Round - Greenville
How sweet it is! Miami reaches their first Sweet Sixteen since 2016.
Photo by Grant Halverson/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

The Miami Hurricanes won a close game vs the USC Trojans on Friday afternoon. That means the running diary is back baby! Going into a game with low expectations is a freeing feeling. Having just said that, I guarantee this will change a few minutes into the game and I will be devastated if Miami loses. Isn’t sports fun?

It’s 7:58 pm on the East Coast, I am scouting Miami’s next potential opponent by watching Wisconsin Badgers vs Iowa State Cyclones, and my fridge is still broken. Anyway, neither team is shooting well tonight. Miami fans shouldn’t be intimidated in the least. Tonight’s game should be tougher, but I have been wrong before. Let’s do this!

8:03 – We get Jim Nantz, Grant Hill and Bill Raftery again for tonight’s matchup. It’s such a luxury to have great announcers working your favorite team’s game.

8:06 – Let’s hope the officiating isn’t as awful as it has been in several games the last couple days. The second half of the UNC vs Baylor game was unbearable to watch. Control the game guys!

8:10 – Tip-off. Miami wearing black vs the white of Auburn. Backcourt violation on Auburn to start the game. Let the turnovers begin!

8:11 – Alley-oop to Jordan Miller to begin the scoring. Miami leads 2-0.

8:12 – Auburn’s center Walker Kessler is huge. He has a block and two made free-throws to start. He is going to be a problem.

8:14 – Charlie Moore draws a foul on Kessler. So smart. It’s nice having a 42-year-old point guard. And a steal by Moore on defense. He’s spry for his age.

8:16 – Turnaround mid-range jumper by Isaiah Wong. Miami leads 10-4.

8:17 – Over the back foul on Kessler. That’s his second foul. To the bench he goes! Great way to hit the under 16-minute timeout.

8:18 – The Boban State Farm commercial has taken over the number one spot for most viewed this weekend: lapping Buffalo Wild Wings and Capital One. I miss on-demand tv. How can you not love Boban though?

8:19 – Long three-pointer by Moore. He is in the zone tonight.

8:21 – The Auburn guards think they are the best players on their team. It should be stated that Jabari Smith, the likely number one pick in next year’s NBA draft, plays forward for Auburn. You’ve got to love the irrational confidence guys.

8:24 – Missed jumper by Kam McGusty. I am having flashbacks to the USC game.

8:25 – Miami is rebounding the ball extremely well tonight. They have to keep this up. Auburn’s size advantage is significant. Also, their big man Kessler will be back in the game soon.

Miami v Auburn
Charlie Moore came to play vs Auburn
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

8:28 – Bruce Pearl states the obvious: Auburn needs to take care of the ball offensively and do better closing out defensively.

8:30 – Missed layup by Wong followed by a made layup by Auburn. Ugh. That was a tough four-point swing. Wong completely redeems himself with a nice bucket underneath the basket on the next possession. Miami leads 19-12. Under ten minutes to play in the first half.

8:32 – Another missed layup by Miami but they follow it up with a steal on defense. Then Moore gets fouled. Phew.

8:33 – Anthony Walker gambles for a steal, leading to Jabari Smith getting an easy layup. That is not what we need. Smith had done nothing up until that point. I don’t want him gaining confidence.

8:34 – Scramble for the ball and it belongs to Auburn. Miami leads 21-14 at the under eight-minute timeout.

8:35 – Miami is playing great. Their defense has been swarming and they have challenged the bigger Auburn team on every shot and rebound. If McGusty, Wong, and Moore can make their jump shots, we have a great shot to win.

8:37 – Iowa State beats Wisconsin, 54-49. Bring on the Cyclones. Also, let the terrible puns begin!

8:38 – Kessler misses a short put back and Moore is fouled after the rebound. Miami is playing huge tonight. Hands up constantly.

8:39 – Auburn has seven turnovers to Miami’s zero. I like that.

8:40 – Close game between Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Texas Tech Red Raiders. I think every Miami fan alive is rooting for Texas Tech, no?

8:41 – Huge possession by Auburn. The lead is down to five. Miami leads 23-18.

8:41 – Another missed layup by Miami. (Shaking head). Miller started the game off great but has been bad on offense ever since.

8:42 – Wendell Green Jr. on Auburn makes two free-throws. This game just got tight! Auburn is too good to go away.

8:43 – Travel on McGusty. First turnover of the game for Miami. Perfect timing.

8:44 – Jabari Smith with an and-1 opportunity. Hot take: he is really good at basketball. Miami leads 25-22 at the under four-minute timeout.

NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament - Second Round - Greenville
Coach L was at his finest vs Auburn.
Photo by Grant Halverson/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

8:47 – Smith misses the free-throw. I’ll take it. We need a bucket bad.

8:48 – Wong delivers on the turnaround jumper. He has been so clutch this weekend.

8:49 – Another missed jumper by Smith and Moore is fouled in the backcourt. We are in the one-and-one. Let’s make our free-throws and not give this game away.

8:50 – Moore makes both. Miami builds the lead back to 29-22

8:51 – Jordan Miller to the free-throw line after an Auburn three-pointer by Jaylin Williams. He makes both. That was a nice surprise.

8:51 – OH MY GOODNESS! Isaiah Wong posterizes Jabari Smith on a driving dunk. That was incredible. The crowd lost it on that play. Wow. Auburn gets trapped in the corner on offense and calls timeout. I need to cool off. Miami leads 33-27.

Miami v Auburn
Isaiah Wong throwing it down over Jabari Smith.
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

8:53 – Buffalo Wild Wings. Noooooooooooooooooo!

8:55 – Auburn climbs back within one. Coach Jim Larranaga needs a timeout and calls one. Miami leads 33-32 with 53 seconds left.

8:58 – Moore travels after getting the ball knocked away. We really needed a bucket there. Miami has fouls to give on defense.

8:59 – Great defensive possession by Miami. No foul. Miami leads 33-32 at halftime.

Miami v Auburn
Jabari Smith did not have a good game. Auburn only trailed by one point at halftime, 33-32.
Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images

9:00 – Coach Larranaga on Isaiah Wong’s dunk: “That was nice. I want more of those.” I concur.

9:02 – These Capital One commercials are completely insane. A Charles Barkley salon where he shaves everyone’s heads? Is that the best the writers can come up with? Who’s writing those commercials? I would love to know.

9:04 – Charles Barkley: “Coach Larranaga had a great game-plan. He isolated Kessler and got him in foul trouble. We officially got a game on our hands. Give Miami credit. They’re tough.” Chuck is on his analyst game tonight.

9:05 – They show the Wong dunk highlight. I will be watching it 384 more times over the next couple days.

9:06 – Bathroom and quick snack break. Be back in a few.

9:13 – Charles Barkley on why he’d never coach: “Cause I’d beat the hell out of some of my players.” Succinct.

9:15 – Who are the AT&T March Madness commercials for? Not young people. Not old people. Parents maybe? I don’t get it. They’re so bad. I’d rather see more Boban or Buffalo Wild Wings.

9:19 – The all new Capicola Italian Sandwich at Subway. Nothing like pre-sliced Capicola mass produced for giant, soulless restaurant chain. No thanks.

9:21 – Miami ball to begin the second half. Kessler blocks a McGusty three-point attempt. (Sigh). Not a great start.

9:23 – Miami blocks three Auburn shots at the rim, all by big guys Smith and Kessler. I love the defensive effort! Wong gets fouled going to the basket.

9:24 – McGusty with a mid-range jumper. Miami is looking to push the pace on offense. Nice pass by Wong to find a cutting McGusty for a layup. Miami leads 39-32.

9:25 – Wong with a smooth high arching layup. He is feeling it right now.

9:26 – KD Johnson on Auburn sinks a three-pointer after McGusty air-balls one. The lead shrinks to 41-37.

9:26 – Still no alcohol in the house. I have no one to blame but myself.

9:27 – Scramble for the ball and McGusty kicks it ahead to Sam Waardenburg for a strong dunk.

9:28 – Moore pulls up for a three-pointer after a Jabari turnover and boom! Miami is back up 48-39.

9:28 – Damn. Waardenburg straight up denies Jabari Smith at the rim. That was a strong block. Under 16-minute timeout. I need some oxygen. Miami is playing their hearts out on defense.

Miami v Auburn
Sam Waardenburg with the denial of Jabari Smith.
Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images

9:31 – Notre Dame falls to Texas Tech, 59-53. I’m devastated.

9:34 – Auburn cuts the lead to 48-43 after a couple smart offensive possessions.

9:34 – Moore with a driving layup after two offensive rebounds! Miami’s starters are going to be exhausted after this game.

9:35 – Long pass to Wong underneath for an and-1. It seems Isaiah Wong never gets tired. That’s a great quality for a college athlete.

9:36 – Weak foul call on Anthony Walker underneath guarding Jabari. That one was tough. Miami had the defensive rebound. Miami leads 53-43 at the under 12-minute timeout.

9:37 – Coke with coffee?! Huh?! Why?! That sounds gross. I’m sure it’s incredibly healthy though. Oh wait.

9:40 – Wong leading the way again with 17 points. He has not been scared of any moment so far this tournament. It’s been fun to watch.

9:41 – Jabari makes one of two free-throws. He has not been good on offense tonight.

9:42 – Layup by KD Johnson. He’s the Charlie Moore of Auburn, only more athletic. Miami needs a score. A laser pass by Moore to Walker underneath gets it done. I’ll take Moore as my college point guard.

9:43 – Corner three-pointer by Waardenburg! Of course, it was Moore with the assist.

Miami v Auburn
Charlie Moore has been Miami’s floor general all season.
Photo by Grant Halverson/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

9:44 – Auburn layup with an and-1 after a foul by Wooga Poplar. He’s got three fouls. He’s playing hard. I’ll not mad at it. Miami leads 60-50. Nine minutes left.

9:45 – Breakaway layup by Wong to put Miami up 62-50. And a steal, but Moore throws it too far ahead of Wong! Ah, so close! We hit the under eight-minute timeout. This is starting to get real.

9:47 – I blackout through another terrible Capital One commercial that makes no sense and has nothing to do with a credit card.

9:48 – Maybe I should try to write commercials for a living. This would be far from my worst idea.

9:50 – I love watching this Miami team play defense.

9:51 – McGusty with a missed three-pointer. Ugh. Not a good shot. Followed by a reach-in foul by Miller on Jabari shooting a three-pointer. Double ugh. Not a good foul. Miami leads 64-55 after the free-throws.

9:54 – Terrible foul call on Waardenburg. The Auburn player with the ball was on the floor out of bounds. What the hell?

9:55 – McGusty with a strong defensive rebound off the missed free-throw. He follows it up with a strong drive to the bucket. He has bounced back big from the USC game.

Miami v Auburn
Kam McGusty bounced back from the USC game, scoring 20 points for the Canes.
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

9:56 – Wong gets blocked and fouled by Jabari. Of course, there’s no call. Moore comes out of a scramble with a sweet pull-up jumper. Miami leads 68-58. More swarming defense from Miami. It’s awesome to watch.

9:57 – Auburn is mentally and physically fatigued. Miami looks like the game just started and their starters are playing HEAVY minutes. Sweet pass by Moore to Waardenburg for an easy dunk. Woo! Timeout Auburn. Miami leads 70-58 with 3:04 remaining.

9:58 – I just walked out on my balcony and let out an excited scream. I don’t think I scared anyone. We’ll see.

10:01 – Miami with a huge defensive rebound after two misses by Auburn. I forgot to breathe for a minute there.

10:03 – HBOMAX teases some sort of Game of Thrones prequel at the end of their commercial. Not. Interested.

10:04 – This is going to a LONG three minutes.

10:06 – Wong gets trapped in the corner and calls timeout. Miami still has two left. There’s 12 seconds to shoot with 2:29 left in the game. I am surprised my fingers still work.

10:07 – Four fouls in a row on Auburn. Interesting strategy. McGusty breaks for a layup. Great possession for Miami.

10:08 – Jabari finally hits a three-pointer. He terrifies me.

10:09 – McGusty to the foul line for a one-and-one. He misses the front end. Because of course he does. Thankfully, Jabari misses yet another three-pointer.

10:10 – Another Miami timeout. The good news is we have the ball with the lead.

10:11 – I haven’t had Taco Bell in years. The Nacho Fries look pretty good though I must say.

10:11 – Moore to the foul line for a one-and-one. Come on old man. Damnit! He misses the front end. Another stop by Miami eases the pain though. Wong to the free-throw line.

10:12 – Wong makes both free-throws. What a relief. Miami leads 74-61.

10:13 – Miami steal leads to a McGusty layup. That should do it! Wow. This team was picked to finish 12th in the ACC. I would say the season has been fairly successful so far.

10:15 – Part of the crowd is chanting ACC! ACC! I guess because Duke won on the same floor earlier. Settle down guys.

10:16 – I wish I would’ve bet on Miami.

10:17 – Miami wins by the final score of 79-61.

NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament - Second Round - Greenville
Hugs all around!
Photo by Grant Halverson/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

Final thoughts: What. A. Game. Miami’s experience and intelligence as a basketball team really came into play tonight. Moore, McGusty, and Wong continue to play incredible on both ends of the floor. Miller and Waardenburg showed up as well. Also, Miami’s energy was incredible tonight. Auburn was absolutely the more tired team despite having a deeper bench. Jabari Smith was held in check; he had 15 rebounds but did nothing significant on offense all game. Lastly, Coach L was awesome. His game-plan was perfect on both sides of the ball. Bruce Pearl can recruit but I’d much rather have Coach L in a big-game situation. We’re on to Chicago! I’ll see you all for the Sweet Sixteen.