Miami basketball named among biggest winners and losers nationally this season

Kerry Miller of Bleacher Report named the Miami basketball team as one of the losers of the 2023-24 season for failing to live up to expectations.
Feb 3, 2024; Coral Gables, Florida, USA; Miami Hurricanes head coach Jim Larranaga reacts from the
Feb 3, 2024; Coral Gables, Florida, USA; Miami Hurricanes head coach Jim Larranaga reacts from the / Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

After being picked second in the ACC during the preseason and ranked 13th nationally, the expectations were high for the Miami basketball team coming off its first Final Four appearance in program history. Miami is currently 15-8 and ranked 68th in the NCAA NetRatings. The Hurricanes are a long shot to make the NCAA Tournament.

Miami returned starting guard Nijel Pack and Woogla Poplar and forward Norchad Omier from the 2022-23 ACC Regular Season champions. Pack was named the 2023 Midwest Regional Most Outstanding Player during the NCAA Tournament. Miami added Florida State forward Matthew Cleveland.

Cleveland replaced Jordan Miller and Bensley Joseph moved into the starting lineup to replace 2022-23 ACC Player of the Year Isaiah Wong. Miami began the season 5-0 before losing 95-73 at Kentucky in the inaugural ACC-SEC Challenge. Kentucky outscored Miami 53-36 in the second half.

After a win over Notre Dame to begin ACC play and Long Island, Miami lost 90-63 to Colorado in Brooklyn. Colorado outscored Miami 53-27 in the second half. After four straight wins, including a victory over Clemson to improve to 2-0 in the ACC, Miami lost in overtime at Wake Forest.

"Biggest Loser: Miami Hurricanes

We could dunk on Louisville and Notre Dame here for being terrible, but they are who we thought they were, battling for last place, as was expected in the ACC preseason media poll.

In that same poll, though, Miami was picked to finish second in the league, ahead of North Carolina and behind only Duke.

Yet, the Hurricanes—a.k.a. the No. 13 team in the preseason AP poll—aren't even within shouting distance of the projected NCAA tournament field right now, and they are sitting at 6-6 in a mediocre ACC without having even played Duke or UNC yet.

Miami lost at home to Louisville, which might as well be grounds for not being eligible for the dance. They were also held to 38 points in Monday's loss at Virginia, scoring fewer than 40 points in a game for the first time since 1948, per Patrick Stevens of the Washington Post."

Kerry Miller, Bleacher Report

No one would have foreseen a loss to ACC last-place Louisville and three defeats by more than 20 points this season. Miami lost consecutive games twice in January. The Hurricanes did not lose two in a row at all during the 2022-23 season. Injuries and a lack of consistency have hindered Miami this season.

Too often, Miami has had long-scoring droughts in games. The offense was supposed to be Miami's strength this season. Miami is averaging 79.0 points per game, but that number is misleading. In their win over Virginia Tech on Saturday, Miami scored 56 points in the second half after only 26 in the first half.

Next. Miami basketball offensive futility dooms them in UVA loss. Miami basketball offensive futility dooms them in UVA loss. dark

Miami lost an opportunity for a critical quadrant one win on Saturday. North Carolina on Saturday and at Clemson on Wednesday offer Miami two more opportunities to pick up wins and potentially crawl back toward the NCAA Tournament bubble. The last month will determine the legacy of the 2023-24 Miami basketball team.