Date & Time: Saturday, March 7 at 4 p.m. ET
Location: Watsco Center, Coral Gables, Florida
Odds: ESPN’s matchup predictor says Syracuse has a 50.5% chance of beating the Hurricanes. Seems a bit low.
Radio: Cuse.com, TK 99/105, WAER 88.3
Rivalry: 19-8, Syracuse
Current Streak: 2, Syracuse
First Meeting: The Syracuse Orange and the Miami Hurricanes first met in 1963, with the Orange winning on a last second shot in overtime by Dave Bing. Bing scored 29 points in the game and Bob Murray added for the Orange. SU would end up in the NIT for the season, losing the opener to NYU.
Last Meeting: Last year, Miami came to the Dome to take on Syracuse in late January. The Orange dismantled the Hurricanes, 74-54 behind some impressive defense and 22 points from Elijah Hughes. Tyus Battle added 10 points, nine assists, and six rebounds and Buddy Boeheim had 12 points in the win.
Head Coaches: Jim Boeheim (44th year; 1,064-391 at SU) | Miami - Jim Larrañaga (9th Year, 189-112 at Miami)
Coach Bio: In his ninth season with the Miami Hurricanes, Jim Larrañaga is having a tough stretch. After reaching the NCAA Tournament three straight years, including a trip to the Sweet Sixteen in 2016, the Hurricanes will miss the post-season for the second straight year. After finishing 14-18 (5-13 in ACC) last year, they are currently 14-15 and unlikely to even receive an NIT bid.
Prior to coaching at Miami, Larrañaga was the head coach at George Mason for 14 years, going 273-164 in that span. He made five trips to the NCAA Tournament in that time, including a trip to the Final Four in 2006. And before George Mason, Larrañaga was the head coach for 11 more seasons at Bowling Green and two at American International. In total, Larrañaga is 659-446, 29th among NCAA Division 1 coaches for all-time wins.
Last Year: As mentioned, last year was not good for Miami. They finished 14-18 and missed a post-season birth. The team was led by sophomore Chris Lykes who averaged over 16 points per game, and a quartet of others who all averaged 10 or more: Anthony Lawrence II, Zach Johnson, Dejan Vasiljevic, and Ebuka Izundu.
Last Game: Miami ran out of gas down the stretch in a two point loss to Virginia, 46-44. The Hurricanes tied the game at 44 with 2:16 to play, but neither team could do much on offense down the stretch. The Hurricanes missed their last five shots and Virginia did just enough to get the win.
”Fear Me, I’ve Killed Hundreds of Timelords”: Chris Lykes is the go-to guy for Miami. As a junior, Lykes is having a very efficient year. Although his scoring is down a tad from last year, he is still averaging over 15 points per game. He also hits 37.4 percent of his three-pointers and is an 81 percent free throw shooter. Lykes has also cut down on his turnovers last year to this year, from 2.9 down to 2.1.
Lykes led the way for the Hurricanes against Virginia, scoring 16 points in just 25 minutes. He will be a handful for Buddy Boeheim and Joe Girard to contain. He is quick, shifty, and tough. He’ll be looking to slash on every play, and if we don’t react quickly (a glaring weakness of this team), he will shred our defense apart. Containing him will be paramount to winning.
If Syracuse Loses: Unfortunate, but that’s about it. This game is about as low stakes as it gets. There’s a moderate chance that even with a loss we will wrap up the five seed in the ACC.
If Syracuse Wins: It secures us that five seed, which might help us avoid playing UNC in the second round. Beyond that, it doesn’t have a lot of meaning. Maybe we somehow sneak in with an at-large birth of we win against Miami and make the ACC tourney finals, but even that is a stretch. We just don’t have the quality wins.
Fun Fact 1: The Orange were 13-5 against the Hurricanes when both teams were members of the Big East.
Fun Fact 2: Miami was the first team that Syracuse played after joining the ACC in 2014. The Orange would win that game on January 4th, 49-44, in a game that featured the lowest point total by both teams in the entire 27-game series.