While the Hurricanes opened the season with a solid 87-79 win over Stetson, you get the feeling Coach Jim Larranaga expects an even better performance tonight when they take on the Florida Gulf Coast University Eagles. Miami was able to put all 5 starters in double figures, but could not put the hot shooting Hatters away until the final minutes.
"We've got to continue to work on our strengths," Larranaga said. "We've got to greatly improve the weaknesses in our defense. But one thing I'm very happy about is 19 assists and 11 turnovers. That works every night."
In FGCU Miami faces an even more undersized and perimeter oriented squad. As they prepare for the big boys on the schedule, progress will be key. Look for the 'Canes to really amp up the defensive intensity tonight.
Florida Gulf Coast Scouting Report: FGCU opened the season with an 80-57 loss to a very talented VCU squad. The Eagles are led by senior G Sherwood Brown who averaged a team leading 12.8 ppg and 5.9 rpg last season. Florida Gulf Coast loves to shoot from distance and hit a very respectable 37.9 on 3P% as a team last year. PG Brett Comer (5.6 apg last year) is the catalyst. Bernard Thompson (21 points against VCU) and 6'9 Filip Cvjeficanin can also light it up from deep.
Series: Miami leads 3-0
Last Meeting: Nov. 22, 2011 - Miami won, 60-50, in Coral Gables
Projected Starting Lineups:
C Reggie Johnson 6'10 290 SR.
F Kenny Kadji 6'11 242 SR
G Trey McKinney-Jones 6'5 220 SR
G Rion Brown 6'6 200 JR
G Shane Larkin 5'11 176 SO
Florida Gulf Coast
F Chase Fieler 6'8 205 JR
F Eric McKnight 6'9 205 SO
G Sherwood Brown 6'4 200 SR
G Brett Comer 6'3 192 SO
G Bernard Thompson 6'3 166 SO
FGCU simply does not have the size,skill, or athleticism to keep up with Miami. Huge games from Shane Larkin, Kenny Kadji, and Reggie Johnson can be expected tonight. Additionally, look for the Hurricanes to improve on the 7-21 clip they produced from downtown in the opener against Stetson. Trey McKinney Jones and Rion Brown should benefit from many open looks, and feast from three point range. Again, the most important thing to watch for will be if Miami can improve their own perimeter defense. Stetson was given way too many easy looks and as a result was able to keep the game close. Look for UM to do a better job closing out shooters, and take this one to the bank 91-70.