Basketball, Commentary, Sports

Hurricanes team similar to successful 2013 group

Senior center Tonye Jekiri (23) goes for a layup during the last home game against Louisville. Jekiri is the only player left from the 2013 team that made the Sweet 16. Nick Gangemi // Editor-in-Chief

Senior center Tonye Jekiri (23) goes for a layup during the last home game against Louisville. Jekiri is the only player left from the 2013 team that made the Sweet 16. Nick Gangemi // Editor-in-Chief

As the Hurricanes enter the “Big Dance” as a No. 3 seed with Final Four aspirations, it’s hard not to think back three years to the program’s most successful team to date. Head Coach Jim Larrañaga’s 2013 squad won both the regular-season ACC title and the ACC Tournament championship before being knocked out of the NCAA Tournament in the Sweet 16 as a No. 2 seed by Marquette. Can we expect to see the same type of success plus more in the coming weeks? It’s certainly a great possibility as the current Canes’ team mirrors the 2013 squad in many ways.

One attention-grabbing stat during the 2013 team’s run through the ACC was the average age of its players. The starting five plus the first two players off the bench were an average of 22.3 years old, including a few fifth-year transfers. Similarly, there is only one underclassman in the top seven on this year’s team and the backcourt is led by two fifth-year transfer guards in Sheldon McClellan and Angel Rodriguez. In an era of one-and-done players, the 2013 team’s experience proved to be a valuable asset once the postseason arrived, and the Canes hold a similar advantage in that area this season.

The composition of the two rosters is also very similar. In 2013, Miami fielded a backcourt consisting of 5-foot-11 point guard Shane Larkin alongside two 6-foot-5 wings in Durand Scott and Trey McKinney-Jones. Larkin made up for what he lacked in size with his ability to penetrate the defense and create for others off the dribble. Scott and McKinney-Jones were primarily spot-up shooters and lockdown defenders. A similar pattern has emerged this year, as the undersized Rodriguez has focused less on scoring and more on getting open shots for his teammates. Both McClellan and junior Davon Reed are bigger guards that have become deadly outside shooters and can lock up most anyone on the defensive end of the floor.

Finally, the records of both of the teams are almost exactly the same. Three years ago, the team finished the regular season with an overall record of 24-6 and a conference record of 15-3. That team suffered a couple of unexpected losses at the beginning of the season and then rolled through the ACC schedule, notching many quality wins along the way. This year’s group finished the regular season 25-6 overall and 13-5 in conference play. They had a couple of puzzling losses earlier in the season to Northeastern and Clemson but have recovered nicely by knocking off numerous highly ranked foes, both in and out of conference play.

All the ingredients are in place for a deep NCAA Tournament run to cap off this season. However, the Canes certainly have their work cut out for them. They find themselves placed in the South region with the No. 1 overall seed Kansas and second-seeded Villanova, which many considered to be a one-seed heading into Selection Sunday. It won’t be easy, but the Canes have shown that they can rise to the occasion against top competition all throughout this year, and that’s exactly what they will need to do on their road to the Final Four.

March 16, 2016

Reporters

Cody Brown


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

This time, there was no miracle Miami win over Duke. The fifth-ranked Blue Devils rallied from a 13- ...

It was obvious before tipoff that the University of Miami game against No. 5 Duke was no ordinary Hu ...

Miami Hurricanes backup quarterback Evan Shirreffs announced Monday on Twitter that he will transfer ...

Here’s one of the many neat things about the UM football program, a tradition that has carried on fo ...

Clemson coach Brad Brownell had a simple plan at the only practice before facing No. 18 Miami — don ...

The Beaux Arts Festival of Art debuts at a new site with picture-perfect weather and a panoply of or ...

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision for a “Beloved Community” has inspired a number of University of ...

UM launches three cyber security certificate programs to equip professionals for the growing employm ...

The second annual Big Data Conference and Workshop hosted by UM Center for Computational Science enc ...

Now in its 67th year, the Beaux Arts Festival will move to the Foote University Green. ...

Freshman jumper Hasani Knight was named ACC Men's Field Performer of the Week. ...

MIami volleyball signee Chloe Brown was named the 2017-18 Gatorade Oregon Volleyball Player of the Y ...

The University of Miami women's basketball team will play the first of two home games in a 31-d ...

Lonnie Walker IV scored 19 points, but it wasn't enough as the Canes fell to the Blue Devils at ...

The University of Miami women's basketball team took down Clemson behind a career-high 19 point ...

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.