Miami basketball has next three at home before beginning tough January stretch

Dec 8, 2021; Coral Gables, Florida, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 8, 2021; Coral Gables, Florida, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /

The Miami basketball team resumes ACC play on Wednesday night after a nine-day layoff. Miami won their ACC opener against Clemson earlier this month. The next three Miami basketball games are at home beginning with North Carolina State on Wednesday night. Miami hosts Wake Forest on January 1 and Syracuse on January 5.

Ten of the final 16 ACC games for Miami will be on the road. After hosting Syracuse, Miami will begin a tough January stretch. Miami will play at Duke on January 8, travel to Florida State on January 11 and return home to host North Carolina on January 18 and FSU on January 22 before playing at Virginia Tech on January 26.

The Miami basketball team also plays at Georgia Tech on January 29. Winning the games against NC State, Wake Forest and Syracuse is critical for Miami. The Hurricanes can set a foundation with 12 wins and three losses before playing at Duke. TeamRankings.Com projects Miami to finish 8-12 in the ACC and 16-15 overall.

Miami is given a 2.6 percent chance to make the NCAA Tournament and a 2.2 percent chance to earn an at-large bid. Wins against the Wolfpack, Demon Deacons and Orange will increase those odds. NC State is 171st, Wake Forest 37th and Syracuse 118th in the NCAA Net Ratings, Miami will have to add some quadrant one wins.

Miami is currently 0-1 against Quad one teams, 3-1 versus Quad two, 2-1 with Quad three and 4-0 in Quad four. The game against Wake Forest at home will be critical. Miami currently only has three games in Quad one remaining this season. At Duke and two games against Virginia Tech are in quadrant one.

Miami needs to improve defensively. The Hurricanes are 305th in field goal percentage defense. Miami ranks 327th in three-point shots allowed.  Sixth-year senior guard Kameron McGusty leads a good Miami offensive team. McGusty is averaging 18.4 points per game and 5.5 rebounds.

Third-year sophomore Isaiah Wong is averaging 15.6 PPG and 4.1 RPG. Point guard Charlie Moore, small forward Jordan Miller and stretch four Sam Waardenburg who is currently starting at center have supplemented the scoring by McGusty and Wong. Larranaga teams have thrived with their guards. This season is no different.

Miami has plenty of opportunities to earn wins in a parity-filled ACC in 2021-22. Duke and Virginia Tech are the only ACC teams in the top 30 of the Net Ratings. The February schedule will ease up a bit for Miami. The Hurricanes have key games at Wake Forest and Louisville before hosting Virginia Tech to end February.

Next. Miami concludes non-conference with ACC's third best record. dark

Miami finished its non-conference schedule with an 8-3 record. If the Hurricanes can finish 10-10 they should have a good chance to earn an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament. Miami has not played in the NCAA Tournament since 2018. The Hurricanes have had three straight losing seasons entering 2021-22.