Starting center Norchad Omier is out for the Miami basketball game at Syracuse on Saturday with a sprained ankle per multiple reports. Omier played 30 minutes and scored 15 points with 15 rebounds on Wednesday in the loss to Florida State. True freshman Michael Nwoko will start in place of Omier.
Sophomore A.J. Casey will also move up in the rotation with Omier out. Jim Larranaga could also choose to utilize a smaller lineup with Matthew Cleveland at the five and Kyshawn George, Bensley Joseph, Nijel Pack and Wooga Poplar on the wings as a one in, four out lineup. Omier is averaging 17.3 points per game and 9.3 rebounds.
Omier could have an extended absence per Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press. In addition to Omier being out on Saturday, Larranaga is starting George with Joseph coming off the bench. Larranaga told Joe Zagacki that George entering the starting lineup is to provide Miami with more size.
Larranaga is hopeful they Joseph can thrive returning to the sixth man role he excelled in during the 2022-23 season. Miami gets much bigger with the 6'10 Nwoko and 6'7 George replacing the 6'7 Omier and 6'2 Joseph in the starting lineup. Omier injured his ankle in practice on Friday.
Nwoko was a four-star signee in the 2023 Miami class. The 247Sports rankings had Nwoko as the 111th prospect, 16th center and 17th player in California out of Prolific Prep in Napa in the 2023 class. Nwoko is averaging 1.9 PPG and 1.6 RPG in 7.9 minutes over 14 games.
Casey and Nwoko have to give Miami interior defense and rebounding on Saturday at Syracuse. Miami also needs to shoot the three well versus one of the best teams defending the perimeter nationally. Syracuse is 18th nationally, holding opponents to 28.8 percent on three-point attempts.