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Syracuse vs Miami preview: Scouting the Hurricanes

Let’s take a closer look at a team that made the Sweet 16 a season ago.

NCAA Basketball: Columbia at Miami Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange (8-6, 0-1) take on the Miami Hurricanes (11-2, 1-0) tonight at 7 pm from the Carrier Dome. Miami comes to Syracuse on a seven game winning streak and received 16 votes (good for 28th nationally) in this week’s rankings while the Orange has yet lost six of its last 10 games. So what can we expect from Jim Larranaga’s club?

Miami lost Angel Rodriguez, Shelden McClellan, Tonye Jekiri and Ivan Cruz Uceda from last year’s Sweet 16 team. But make no mistake, this is still a very good basketball team. Miami is a stout defensive team, allowing just 92.7 points per 100 possessions which ranks No. 22 nationally, per Ken Pom.

The Hurricanes are led by Sophomore guard Ja’Quan Newton who averages 15.8 points per game on almost 50 percent shooting from the floor. Davon Reed is a steady senior who defends the ball just as well as he shoots from outside at a 39.5 percent clip. Aside from those two, the team’s best player might just be Bruce Brown, an elite freshman who can jump out of the gym. Miami also has a freshman sharpshooter in Dejan Vasiljevic — he takes 78 percent of his shots from outside so finding him within the zone will be key.

Also of note, Miami as a team shoots a meager 35.7 percent from distance while Syracuse just allowed Boston College to shoot 61.5 percent from outside in its last game. Of Miami’s 351 made field goals on the season, only 79 have been threes. Miami doesn’t take or make a lot of threes while Syracuse’s biggest inability in the zone has been guarding the perimeter. Needless to say, the three point line will be something to watch in this matchup.

Syracuse will also have to keep Kamari Murphy and Brown off the glass as they’re both just a shade under 8 rebounds per, respectively. Syracuse actually averages two more points per game than Miami, so defense will be crucial in tonight’s contest. See highlights from last year’s game, which was coached by Mike Hopkins, below. Let’s hope nobody confuses DaJuan Coleman’s first name with a brand of mustard in this year’s game.