Miami basketball 17th in updated ESPN Way too early Top 25

Apr 1, 2023; Houston, TX, USA; Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 1, 2023; Houston, TX, USA; Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports /

The Miami basketball team fell from 16th to 17th in the latest ESPN “Way-Too-Early Top 25.” Miami falling one spot was impacted by Villanova moving up from 18th to 16th in the rankings. The Hurricanes return starters Nijel Pack, Wooga Poplar and Norchad Omier for the 2023-24 season.

The addition of forward Matthew Cleveland will help the Miami basketball program replace the loss of Jordan Miller. Guard Bensley Joseph helps replace the loss of ACC Player of the Year Isaiah Wong. Miami is coming off arguably its most successful season in program history. The Hurricanes finished 29-8.

Miami is the only team in the country to advance to the regional finals of the NCAA Tournament in each of the last two seasons. The Hurricanes reached the first Final Four in program history in 2023. Miller and Wong were the only starters for Miami during the deep NCAA Tournament runs in the last two years.

Joseph, Pack, Poplar and Omier were all key players for Miami during the 2022-23 season. Joseph was frequently referred to as the sixth starter by head coach Jim Larranaga during the 2022-23 season. Joseph will be the primary playmaker for Miami in 2023-24. Pack will share in those duties and is Miami’s best shooter.

"Previous: 16Nijel Pack and Norchad Omier both tested the NBA draft waters but opted to return to Coral Gables, Florida. Those two will form one of the best inside-outside duos in the ACC next season.Jim Larranaga also replaced Jordan Miller with an ACC-proven forward in Florida State transfer Matthew Cleveland, who should add more rebounding and paint production. The Hurricanes are still in the hunt for another guard to help fill Isaiah Wong’s shoes.Projected starting lineup:Nijel Pack (13.8 PPG)Wooga Poplar (8.7 PPG)Bensley Joseph (5.2 PPG)Matthew Cleveland (13.8 PPG at Florida State)Norchad Omier (13.3 PPG)"

The biggest question for the Miami basketball team entering the 2023-24 season will be developing depth. Miami signed center Michael Nwoko, small forward Paul Djobet and guard Kyshawn George in the 2023 class. Djobet and George were late signees this spring. Nwoko signed in November.

Next. Miami disrespected in updated ESPN bracketology. dark

Nwoko is likely the only one of the three freshmen ready to contribute. A.J. Carey showed promise in limited minutes as a true freshman in 2022-23. Guards Jakai Robinson and Christian Watson will compete to become part of the rotation for Miami in 2023-24. Developing depth could be the key to another successful season in 2023-24.