Good morning, everyone.
The Miami Hurricanes play the Drake Bulldogs (had to look up their mascot) in the NCAA tournament today. Here are the relevant numbers to know for both teams...
Record: 25-7 overall (15-5 in ACC)
NET ranking: 35
KenPom adjusted offensive efficiency: 12
KenPom adjusted defensive efficiency: 131
Quad 1 record: 5-5
Quad 2 record: 6-0
Quad 3 record: 7-1
Quad 4 record: 7-1
Best win: 81-59 vs. Duke (NET 16)
Worst loss: 85-84 vs. Florida State (NET 221)
Generally speaking, the Miami Hurricanes’ 2022-2023 story isn’t much different from that of their 2021-2022 team: ride their talented guards offensively and be aggressive and opportunistic on defense. That team caught lightning in a bottle in besting USC, Auburn, and Iowa State before bowing out to eventual national champion Kansas. The difference in this year’s team is the addition of sharpshooter Nijel Pack on the outside and big man Norchad Omier. The emergence of other scoring options, such as Wooga Poplar and his potent mid-range jumper, has also helped stabilize this year’s offense a bit more than last year’s more mercurial version. Omier is an bruising, physical presence under the rim that Miami sorely lacked last year. However, it still remains to be seen if he will be back from an ankle injury suffered in the ACC tournament against Duke. If he’s out or limited, Miami’s lack of frontcourt size will pose a problem in advancing beyond the first weekend.
Record: 27-7 (15-5 in MVC)
NET ranking: 55
KenPom overall: 67
KenPom adjusted offensive efficiency: 99
KenPom adjusted defensive efficiency: 46
Quad 1 record: 1-1
Quad 2 record: 3-3
Quad 3 record: 10-3
Quad 4 record: 12-0
Best win: 58-52 vs. Mississippi State (NET 16)
Worst loss: 82-52 at Richmond (NET 159)
The Bulldogs enter the dance as perhaps the hottest team in America, having won 15 of their last 17 on the way to the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament title. Aside from being red hot, they’re also one of the tournament’s most experienced teams, with an average age of 23.4 for their starting lineup. 6’7” guard Tucker DeVries leads the Bulldogs with 19.1 points per game. However, Miami will have to account for all five starters beyond the arc, as all starters average at least 36% from beyond the arc.
Prediction: Miami 74, Drake 73
In what will be a back-and-forth cardiac contest (would you expect anything different from the Canes?), Miami’s Pack and Isaiah Wong hit big shot after big shot to keep Miami narrowly in front, but Drake’s experienced and talented lineup limits the turnovers and keeps the game nip and tuck until the waning moments. Miami survives a last-second miss to advance by the slimmest of margins.