Providence takes on a familiar face in the Jim Larranaga led Miami Hurricanes. Miami is also 3-0 and has similarly yet to be tested this season with wins over Lafayette, UNC-Greensboro, and FAMU. This game will certainly be a litmus test for both programs and will reveal (both good and bad) a lot about the Friars.
Below, we break down what (and who) to know about the Hurricanes and what PC must do to leave Mohegan Saturday 4-0 heading into the championship game.
Miami Hurricanes Overview
Players to Know: Jordan Miller – 6’7 Senior averaging 16 and 8 rebounds. Transferred heading into 2021 season from George Mason. Norchad Omier – 6’7 Sophomore averaging 13 and 11 rebounds. Transfer this year from Arkansas State. Isaiah Wong – 6’4 Junior averaging 12 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists. Was a leader on the Elite 8 team from last year. Nijel Pack – 6 foot guard averaging 11 points. Transfer from Kansas State. Wooga Poplar – 6’5 sophomore averaging 9 points and 4 rebounds. Bensley Joseph – A blast from the past as PC recruited him heavily out of high school. 6’2 sophomore averaging 7 points.
Departures: Kameron McGusty – 18 points, 5 rebounds. Leader in backcourt. Charlie Moore – 12 points and 5 assists. AARP certified.
Keys to Victory for Providence
Win the Frontcourt Battle – Arkansas State and George Mason transfers Omier and Miller lead the Hurricanes in rebounding at 11 and 8 rebounds, respectively. The thing that jumps out to me is the size in the front court (or lack thereof) for Miami. Omier is the tallest starter on their team around 6’7/6’8. Providence is going to be the inferior opponent in the backcourt, in my opinion, so where they must win is in the paint. Croswell, Moore, and potentially even Castro must own the glass, block shots, and create second chance opportunities. Moore has the ability to erase any offensive effort Miami puts up while Croswell may be able to get Omier in foul trouble. A depleted front court is a necessity if PC wants to win this game.
Contain the Miami Backcourt – Wong and Pack are no joke. The Friars are going to have their hands full on defense trying to contain the Miami guards. Devin Carter particularly is instrumental in making Miami uncomfortable on the offensive end. Breed may see more minutes due to his defensive aptitude. If Providence can limit either of them from going off, I feel good about the Friars.
Contain Jordan Miller from Deep – Miller is a very versatile player at 6’7 with the ability to knock down the deep ball. He leads the team in scoring in part because of his size, but also because he is averaging 42% from deep this year. I presume Hopkins will be matched up against him, and this will be an excellent opportunity for Hopkins to show who he is in a primetime match-up. You can’t fall asleep on Miller as he will make you pay by getting putbacks on offense and hitting the 3 ball. This is a tough task for whomever is guarding Miller. Conversely, I think Hopkins has the chance to impose his will when he is on offense and get somebody like a Miller in foul trouble. This will be a really fun match-up to watch.
Beyond Miller, Miami doesn’t really pose a threat from deep (*knocks on wood*). They are shooting 35% from deep as a team. Miami may get hot, but also have the ability to shoot themselves out of this game.
Bynum the Aggressor – We need to see Bynum come out of the gates aggressive. Bynum has shown all year that he can get by his man with ease with an electric first step. I don’t want to see him defer to his teammates early on. I want him to force the issue and see if Miami has the players to contain him. As illustrated in the Northeastern game, when Bynum is on, this team plays at a different level offensively. This is Jared’s team, and I’m imploring him to show that from the opening tip.
BOC: This is a home game of sorts for the Friars. With Thanskgiving on the horizon, I anticipte a lot of “jubilant” Friar fans in attendance making an impact on the game. Friars do just enough to squeak by and beat Miami, 78-75. They take on the winner of Maryland – St. Louis, which I believe will be St. Louis.