On the road against Louisville, Miami strives for Larrañaga’s first road win at KFC Yum! Center

Sixth-year redshirt senior Charlie Moore attempts a layup during the second half of Miami's 79-70 win over Georgia Tech on Wednesday, Feb. 9 at the Watsco Center.
Sixth-year redshirt senior Charlie Moore attempts a layup during the second half of Miami's 79-70 win over Georgia Tech on Wednesday, Feb. 9 at the Watsco Center. Photo credit: Josh Halper

After Saturday’s win at Wake Forest, Louisville is now the only Atlantic Coast Conference team that Miami coach Jim Larrañaga has yet to beat on the road.

The Miami men’s basketball team is in Louisville, Kentucky, to take on the Louisville Cardinals on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

The Hurricanes have begun to regain their rhythm as of late, winning close games over ACC competitors Georgia Tech and Wake Forest. With the win Saturday, Miami earned a 5-0 record against programs in the state of North Carolina.

“In the second half, we calmed down and executed our offense much better and our defense then was outstanding in terms of forcing turnovers and converting the turnovers into points,” Larrañaga said.

UM (18-7, 10-4 ACC) will look to bring similar defensive energy to force turnovers allow for some showtime dunks and other easy points from their athletic wings off Cardinal turnovers. Louisville (11-13, 5-9 ACC) averages 12.3 turnovers per game.

Playing solid basketball over the past week, the Canes have been lighting up the scoreboard, as Miami is 10-0 against ACC competition when scoring 70 points, and remains 17-1 on the season when scoring 65 or more points.

Veteran guards Kameron McGusty and Isaiah Wong, who combined for 42 of the team’s 76 points in the win versus the Demon Deacons, lead the Canes’ offensive attack. Wong scored 30 in the Canes last matchup with Louisville in January 2021.

“If we don’t force turnovers, we’re going to struggle defensively,” Larrañaga said. “But when we are forcing turnovers, we’re pretty darn good in the open court in converting those … That makes a huge difference. It’s very hard for your opponent to make up for those points. You’d have to do it making six or seven threes.”

The Cardinals have lost their last six straight games and have experienced trouble scoring, with no player averaging over 10 points a game on the roster.

Forward Malik Williams, one of Louisville’s top players who leads the team in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots, gives the Cardinals a boost on each side of the ball having returned from indefinite suspension. It is uncertain how many minutes the 6-foot-11 fifth-year senior will play against Miami, after only playing six versus Notre Dame last Wednesday.

Regardless of strategy on Wednesday, Miami will strive to dominate as it strives for an at-large bid in the NCAA Tournament and return home Saturday with a win versus a respectable opponent.