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This Week in Canes Hoops: 1/15 Edition

The guys suffer a horrific home loss, then bounce back for a road win. The ladies lose two conference games away from home.

NCAA Basketball: Miami (FL) at Virginia Tech Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

Good afternoon everybody. How are we feeling about Cam Ward coming to The U? Personally, I’m thrilled. It’s nice to know we have a good option at quarterback for the 2024 season.

We’re back for another week of Miami Hurricanes Men’s and Women’s Basketball. The guys lost to Louisville on Wednesday night in front of a stunned Watsco Center crowd, then got a decent road win against Virginia Tech on Saturday night. The ladies got crushed by Va Tech in Blacksburg on Thursday evening, then lost to Notre Dame in South Bend on Sunday afternoon.

Last week:

I was in a state of shock while watching Miami’s 80-71 loss to Louisville. It was inconceivable to me that this Canes squad to lose to such an inferior opponent. The Cardinals had lost 22 road games in a row. 22! They have been by far the worst team in the ACC since the start of last season. In no world should Miami have lost this game. I think Coach L’s squad thought they could just show up at home and win. Not so much. Louisville came to play, shooting 49% from the field, 43.5% from three-point range, and 87.5% from the free-throw line. Compare that to Miami’s 39%, 32%, and 53% splits, and it’s no wonder there was an upset. This was the worst loss of the last three seasons for Canes basketball. I hope it doesn’t come back to haunt them in a couple months.

I was having a date night in Orlando while my parents watched my infant son during Miami’s 75-71 win over Virginia Tech. Don’t fret though, I was pulling out my phone every few minutes to check the score. Like seemingly every other matchup in this series, it was close throughout. Two players came up big for the Canes: Nijel Pack and Matthew Cleveland. Pack had 19 points and team highs in rebounds and assists, with 8 and 5, respectively. He also didn’t commit a turnover. Cleveland led Miami in scoring with 21 points, going 7-11 from the field and 6-7 from the free-throw line. I love the way the FSU transfer has played so far this season. The Canes have struggled at times, but Cleveland has been everything Coach L and his staff could’ve wanted as an impact transfer.

I officially have concerns about Miami’s bench. Now that Wooga Poplar and Pack are back and healthy, Kyshawn George returns to his role as the sixth man. He’s great. Behind him though, it gets grim fast. AJ Casey doesn’t look any better than he did last season. Christian Watson doesn’t have an offensive game to speak of. Michael Nwoko is still a project and is playing less now that conference play has started. I know benches aren’t as important in college basketball. I also know the Canes didn’t have great benches the last two seasons. That said, aside from George, Miami doesn’t have any bench players that can be trusted during a big game. This could be a big problem come March. Prayers for injury health!

The Lady Canes could not complete the Blacksburg sweep, losing 76-52. Shayeann Day-Wilson led Miami with 19 points and 4 assists. Ja’leah Williams chipped in 10 points and 8 rebounds. Elizabeth Kitely dominated the game with her 31 points and 11 rebounds. This game was decided in the second quarter. The Hokies won it 26-10 and never looked back. Coach Meier’s squad lost the shooting battle in field goal, three-point, and free-throw percentage. Shots need to start falling for Miami in conference play.

The ladies lost to Notre Dame, 70-59. Just like their last game, the Lady Canes lost it in the second quarter. Miami trailed 15-13 after ten minutes, then lost the frame by 14 points. Game over. Coach Meier’s squad put up a valiant effort in the second half, but they couldn’t get close enough to truly scare the Fighting Irish. Jaida Patrick led Miami with 15 points and 6 rebounds, but also committed 5 turnovers. The Lady Canes had 16 turnovers as a team. Yikes.

This week:

The guys host Florida State on Wednesday, 1/17 at 7:00 PM EST. The game will be televised on ACC Network. The Seminoles have won four games in a row and are 10-6 this season. Coach L’s squad then plays at Syracuse on Saturday, 1/20 at 12:00 PM EST. The game will be televised on ESPN2. The Orange are 11-5 and coming off a big blowout loss at #7 UNC.

The Lady Canes continue their ranked-team January gauntlet, hosting #4 NC State on Thursday, 1/18 at 6:00 PM EST. The game will be televised on ACC Network. The Wolfpack are 15-1 on the season, with wins over #2 UConn and #3 Colorado.