Miami shows it can be a factor in March with win over Louisville

No. 12 Miami (Fla.) has one of the most experienced rosters in all of college basketball, and it showed on the program’s senior day.

The Hurricanes went out and defeated No. 11 Louisville on Saturday 73-65 to move to 12-4 in the ACC and stay only half a game behind North Carolina in the league’s title race.

Senior point guard Angel Rodriguez had one of his best, most composed games in a Miami uniform, scoring 17 points and dishing out seven assists in the win. More importantly though, he only committed one turnover against Louisville’s high-pressure defense, and as a team the Hurricanes only committed turnovers on 11 percent of their possessions. Compared to Louisville’s average of forcing turnovers on 22 percent of their possessions, it was a remarkable performance on offense that ended up being a key to victory. Wing Davon Reed also had 17 points, and had a dagger 3-pointer with 43 seconds left to mostly end the proceedings.

While the offense was efficient, it was the defense down the stretch that won the game for the Hurricanes. They held Louisville to only three points in the final five minutes, as the Cardinals shot 1 of 12 from the field when the Hurricanes ratcheted up the intensity late. It was here that the experience shined through relative to the inexperienced Cardinals, who simply couldn’t get reliably in and out of their offensive sets late as Rodriguez, Reed and Sheldon McClellan provided heavy pressure.

This was the kind of performance that shows how dangerous Miami could be once it gets to the NCAA Tournament. They shot well from distance, played physical defense, and got looks in the lane when they needed them. As long as Rodriguez is playing consistently, the team doesn’t really have much in the way of weaknesses. They can defend the perimeter, match up with a lot of players at different positions due to their length, and Tonye Jekiri is a good defender inside on one end. Then offensively, they can get penetration, stretch the floor at four spots, and score when need be.

It’s tough to see the flaws right now with the way this Miami team is playing, and it’s going to make the Hurricanes a factor down the stretch both in the ACC and nationally.

Davon Reed had 17 for Miami as they knocked off Louisville. (USATSI)
Davon Reed had 17 for Miami as they knocked off Louisville. (USATSI)

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