Miami Hurricanes Basketball Game 16 Preview: Duke Blue Devils


Location: Cameron Indoor Stadium

Time: 9:00 PM


Line: Duke -15.5

The Miami Hurricanes basketball team evened up its conference record at 1-1 with a victory over Boston College on Saturday. In 2008, the ‘Canes took down Duke, then ranked No. 4 in the country, behind a 22-point performance by Jack McClinton. Miami has since beaten the Blue Devils twice, including a victory at Cameron Indoor Stadium in 2012 and a 27-point stunner in 2013 at the BUC. On Tuesday night, Miami (11-4) attempts to pull off the upset over the Duke Blue Devils (14-1) in front of the Cameron Crazies.

Duke Scouting Report

After suffering its first loss of the season on Sunday to NC State, Duke dropped from No. 2 to No. 4 in the polls. Despite this setback, many consider the Blue Devils, along with Kentucky, as the lead favorites to win the National Championship. Duke’s most impressive games include 10-point victories over Michigan State, then ranked No. 19 in the country, and Wisconsin, then ranked No. 2 in the country.

The Blue Devils possess one of the most impressive offenses in the country. Duke averages 83.8 points (8th nationally) and 16.4 assists (18th nationally) per game. As a team they shoot 37.8% from three and a staggering 50.7% overall.

Since 2011, Kyrie Irving, Austin Rivers, and Jabari Parker have each enjoyed one-year stays in Durham before advancing to the NBA as heralded draft picks. Jahlil Okafor is next in line.

The major recruiting services each rated the Chicago-native as the top prospect in the country and he has lived up to the hype. The 6’11”, 270 lb Okafor averages 19.2 points (1st in the ACC), 9.1 rebounds (3rd in the ACC), and 1.7 blocks (6th in the ACC). He also leads the conference in field goal percentage, hitting on 68.4% of his shots. Yeah, he’s pretty good. Any hope for containing the talented freshman, you ask? Sure. Against Wisconsin, Okafor matched up with Frank Kaminsky, one of the best big men in the country. Kaminsky held Okafor to a pedestrian 13 points and 6 rebounds. Tonye Jekiri’s improvements, especially on the defensive end also provide some optimism. Miami needs to draw Okafor into foul trouble to have its best chance.

Freshman point guard Tyus Jones, another 5-star recruit and McDonald’s All-American, has athleticism similar to former Hurricane Shane Larkin. The 6’1” Jones will certainly keep Angel Rodriguez busy. He averages 9.6 points, 5.1 assists, and 1.6 steals per contest. Jones went for 22 points against Wisconsin and 21 points against UConn, but has seen a drop off in productivity since the start of ACC play. Perhaps this bodes well for Miami.

Bottom line: everyone that plays basketball at Duke is ultra-talented. A couple other players to note include Quinn Cook and Rasheed Sulaimon.

Cook, a 6’2” senior combo guard, plays a key leadership role for this generally young Duke team. He averages 14.6 points per game on 39.4% from three and 46.8% overall. Cook has attempted nearly double the amount of 3-pointers as anyone on his team.

Sulaimon, a 6’5” junior wing player, averages 7.7 points per game off of the bench for the Blue Devils. He shoots 42.1% from beyond the arc and will not back down from taking big shots.


Miami: 65 – Duke: 74

The Miami Hurricanes do have a chance in this game. Duke is just two days removed from suffering its first loss of the season and the team’s core is made up of three freshmen, so there is some uncertainty as to how they will respond. The Blue Devils may erupt for 85 points and blow the Hurricanes off of the court, like the betting line suggests. Or perhaps we see another heroic effort from Angel Rodriguez and the rest of the team steps up to the challenge.

Several, very fortunate things must occur for the ‘Canes to pull off this upset. Rodriguez, Deandre Burnett, and Sheldon McClellan must attack the basket and draw fouls on Jahlil Okafor. Okafor can’t beat you if he’s on the bench. Miami needs better than its usual 3-point shooting. McClellan, Burnett, and Omar Sherman each connected on multiple attempts from 3-point range against Virginia, which helped keep the Hurricanes in the game. More of the same is necessary on Tuesday night.

The Miami Hurricanes basketball team will need some things to go its way in order to hang around with one of the best teams in the country, but at least they’re excited for the game. Angel Rodriguez’s tweeted message for ‘Canes’ fans: