Miami Hurricanes Basketball Game 22 Preview: Louisville Cardinals


Location: BankUnited Center

Time: 8:00 PM

TV: My TV 33 (CBS Alternate)

Line: Louisville -2.5

The Miami Hurricanes basketball team dropped out of the top-25 rankings this past week with losses to Georgia Tech and Florida State. Miami (14-7, 4-4) looks to bounce back on Tuesday night as the #9 Louisville Cardinals (18-3, 6-2) visit the BUC. Another major upset would significantly improve the Hurricanes’ resume with March Madness approaching.

Louisville Scouting Report ranks Louisville 10th in the country, while the Cardinals land at #9 in both the AP and Coaches Poll. The Cardinals possess an elite defense. Louisville ranks in the top-25 nationally in scoring defense, defensive efficiency, blocks, and steals. The team’s starting guards, Terry Rozier and Chris Jones (more on them later), each average at least 2 steals per contest. The ‘Canes committed 11 turnovers against FSU and 12 turnovers against Georgia Tech. Miami will need to limit the giveaways to have a chance in this one.

Louisville averages an impressive 73.6 points per game, but has struggled to consistently hit 3-pointers. The Cardinals rank next to last in the ACC in 3-point field goal percentage, shooting about 30% on the season. Duke played zone defense against Louisville and it helped hold the Cardinals to 52 points. Miami has not had a lot of success with the zone defense this year, but it generally works well against teams that do not shoot well from the outside.

Power forward Montrezl Harrell is the emotional leader of this team and projects as a first-round pick in the next NBA draft. Harrell earned Preseason All-American honors a few months back and has lived up to the recognition. He averages 15.3 points and 9.2 rebounds per game. Harrell’s excellent athleticism allows him to play on the perimeter a bit, but this is also where Miami will want him to play. He has a tendency to take mid range and 3-point jumpers despite shooting poorly from outside of the paint.

Combo guards Terry Rozier and Chris Jones contribute to what is arguably the top backcourt in the country.

Rozier came into Louisville as one of the top recruits in the country a couple years ago, and now he nearly leads the ACC in scoring. His 18.3-point per game average can be attributed to his quickness and ability to beat his man off of the dribble. His shooting has come along, but the real threat here is his driving ability.

Jones, the top Junior College player in the country two years ago, has made a huge impact this season for Louisville. He’s only 5’10”, but Jones is extremely explosive and can really shoot it from anywhere on the court. Jones has averaged over 20 points per game in Louisville’s last three.

Senior small forward Wayne Blackshear is another great defender with some 3-point shooting ability. Overall he’s pretty solid from beyond the arc, but he’s currently in the midst of a slump (3 for his last 15 slumps). Either Sheldon McClellan or Davon Reed will draw the responsibility of Blackshear for most of the game.


Louisville: 68 – Miami: 60

If Miami had beaten its weaker opponents last week, I would feel somewhat confident in picking the upset. The ‘Canes instead have struggled recently and the current level of play really doesn’t give them a chance. I think Miami can hang around for most of the game, but once the Louisville defense clamps down the Hurricanes may not be be able to keep up offensively.

The most intriguing matchup to me is Montrezl Harrell versus whomever Miami puts on him. Omar Sherman has been a liability defensively, and now he’s struggling to hit shots. I think this will result in some major playing time for Ivan Cruz Uceda.

If there were ever a time for Angel Rodriguez to regain his early-season form, now would be convenient. Rodriguez is shooting 17% from the field and 21% from three since the Duke victory, which feels like a lifetime ago.

Hopefully a sold out BankUnited Center brings some energy to the ‘Canes and helps Miami play up to its capabilities.