CBS Sports Hoops analyst asks will Miami basketball win ACC after 1st Final 4

Mar 26, 2023; Kansas City, MO, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 26, 2023; Kansas City, MO, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports /

Ahead of ACC Tipoff on Wednesday, Matt Norlander of CBS Sports asked “Will Miami be the boss of the ACC after making its first Final Four in history?” as part of ranking the Miami basketball team 19th in his College basketball rankings “CBS Sports’ Top 100 And 1 best teams heading into the 2023-24 season.”

The Miami basketball team returns starters Nijel Pack, Wooga Poplar and Norchad Omier from the program’s first Final Four appearance last season. Expect Pack and Omier and potentially Florida State transfer Matthew Cleveland to earn preseason All-ACC. The ACC team and player projections should be released later this week.

Miami is the third highest-ranked ACC team in Norlander’s rankings. Duke is fifth and Virginia 14th. Miami plays at Virginia on February 5 and hosts Duke on February 21. The Hurricanes tied the 2012-13 team for the most wins in program history. Miami won the 2013 ACC regular season and Tournament titles.

Last season Miami earned a share of the ACC Regular season title with Virginia. The Hurricanes’ win over the Cavaliers in December earned Miami the number-one seed in the ACC Tournament. Miami’s .784 winning percentage was the fifth highest in program history. Miami should approach that record in 2023-24.

"“Will Miami be the boss of the ACC after making its first Final Four in history? The Hurricanes bring back Nijel Pack, Wooga Poplar, Norchad Omier and Bensley Joseph. They added Matthew Cleveland, who could be the special ingredient that keeps the U in or around the rankings all season long.There’s a chance Cleveland, Pack, Omier and Poplar all land in the top 120-or-so players in the sport. That in mind, obviously this team can win the ACC. I’m wondering if Larranaga will have more than six guys in the rotation for when it really counts, though. We’ll see.Michael Nwoko, AJ Casey and Kyshawn George are the likely nominees to be role players as non-starters — with George (a frosh from Switzerland with a shooting stroke) having a great chance to emerge as the season goes on.Larranaga says he’s nowhere close to retiring, and the case is there that he’s the second best coach in the ACC right now to Tony Bennett. Frankly, it’s not even that arguable.”"

Pack and Omier will be with Larranaga at ACC Tipoff. They will appear on Wednesday at noon ET. Pack led the Miami basketball returnees in scoring (13.6 points per game) and assists last season (2.31). Omier is the second-leading returning scorer (13.1 per game) and leads the Hurricanes’ returnees in rebounding (10.0).

Expect Poplar to be the most improved player for Miami this season. Poplar could lead Miami in scoring in 2023-24. Cleveland steps into an important role at forward this season. Expect Cleveland to have more efficient numbers with Miami than he did with Florida State. Joseph gives Miami a traditional point guard.

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Casey and Nwoko provide Miami with more size off the bench than they had last season. George has a lot of upside and has been receiving strong accolades for his play in practice this fall. Miami begins the season with an exhibition game on Sunday versus TCNJ and plays its first regular season game versus NJIT on November 6.