Miami Basketball defense has regressed vs Clemson and Duke

MIAMI, FL - NOVEMBER 16: Head coach Jim Larranaga of the Miami Hurricanes reacts during the second half of the game against the Florida A
MIAMI, FL - NOVEMBER 16: Head coach Jim Larranaga of the Miami Hurricanes reacts during the second half of the game against the Florida A /

To begin the season Miami basketball had one of the best defenses in the country. They are in the top five in the ACC in field goal percentage defense, three-point field percentage defense and scoring defense. In their losses to Clemson and Duke, the Miami defense regressed.

Clemson and Duke scorched the Miami basketball defense. The Tigers and Blue Devils combined to shoot 50 percent from the floor and 54.8 percent on threes.

With an inconsistent offense, Miami basketball needs their defense to play well every game to win. They need to get back to playing elite defense or the Hurricanes will not be able to live up to their preseason number 12 ranking.

The defense was good against Duke for the first 32 minutes. The Blue Devils committed 19 turnovers, but none in the last 11:10 of the game. After falling behind 66-53 with eight minutes left in the game, Duke made nine of their last 11 shots to toast the Hurricanes defense.

Miami did a relatively good job against the Blue Devils star inside duo Marvin Badgley III and Wendall Carter Jr. Those two combined for 28 points and 26 rebounds. Badgley was just five of 10 from the floor. Carter finished seven of 11.

Gary Trent Jr did a lot of that damage. The son of the former NBA player of the same name finished with 30 points on 9-14 from the floor, six of nine on three-point attempts and six of eight from the free throw line. He fueled the Blue Devils rally from 13 down for the win. Eighteen of those 30 came in the second half.

Against Clemson, the Hurricanes were unable to stifle the Tigers offense after halftime. After shooting 39.3 percent in the first half, the Tigers made half their shots in the final 20 minutes. Clemson finished the game making 12 of their 21 three-point attempts. That includes making six of their nine attempts from beyond the arc in the second half.

The Hurricanes are second in the ACC overall in scoring defense and three-point percentage defense and third in field goal percentage defense. Those numbers have dropped significantly in conference play.

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Against ACC teams Miami is eighth in scoring defense, tenth in defensive field goal percentage and 14th in three-point field goal percentage. Those numbers could have been inflated before ACC play against what was mostly an unchallenging non-conference schedule.

Miami’s trip to Minnesota was originally considered a challenging non-conference game. The Golden Gophers have not lived up to their preseason ranking. Minnesota was 15th in the nation when Miami traveled to the Twin Cities. The Golden Gophers are now 69th in RPI. Miami is currently 22nd.

Many thought Miami would have a chance to challenge for the ACC title this season. They need the duo of Bruce Brown and Lonnie Walker to get going offensively and for the defense to get back to where they were playing earlier in the season.

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Miami is too talented and athletic to not be an elite defensive team and among the top four to five teams in the ACC. If they can get the offense to where it was expected to be and the defense back to where it was in non-conference Miami should be able to challenge for the top tier in the ACC and potentially advance to the second weekend in March.