IT'S TIME TO DANCE: Can the Canes stop the upset-minded Ramblers?

IT'S TIME TO DANCE: Can the Canes stop the upset-minded Ramblers?

Paul Austria
Oh yeah. It’s that time of the year again. Fill out your brackets, load up on pizza and popcorn, and get the oxygen tanks ready for all the heart-pumping/gut-wrenching/nail-biting games on tap. Oh, and get the tissues ready when that 15-seed team makes its first appearance ever in the tournament and somehow beats a 2-seed and completely leaves your perfect dream bracket in shambles and now you start questioning the meaning of life and why you even signed up for this disappointment. Alas, it’s time for March Madness.

The University of Miami basketball team will make their 3rd consecutive appearance in the NCAA tournament this year, this time as a 6-seed playing 11-seeded Loyola-Chicago in the South Region. Some other notable teams in this region include Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Arizona so it is indeed a tough draw. But before Miami can even think about those teams, they have to get past the upset-minded Ramblers and boy do they have their hands full.

So here’s a little background on Loyola-Chicago. The Ramblers are making their sixth appearance ever in the tourney, the first since 1985, and they made the tournament as a result of winning the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament. They have a solid 28-5 record this season, with their most notable win included going into Gainesville and knocking off the now-ranked 23rd Gators by 6. Loyola is also extremely hot right now, as they have won their last 10 games overall coming into this game as well. Even though they’ve had a long drought since their last postseason appearance and maybe the name of the school won’t even ring a bell to you, they should not be discredited as a threat. They have five players that average double-figures in points and are led by Missouri Valley Conference player of the year Clayton Custer, who averaged 13.4 points/game to go along with 4.3 assists/game, both tops on the team. Custer is also shooting an astounding 52% from the field along with a 44% average from three-point range. The unorthodox four-guard starting lineup works extremely well for this team along with lone center down low Cameron Krutwig. You know how when you normally fill out your brackets, the upsets are impossible to predict, and by the power of the basketball gods, they happen? Well, this an upset that may very well happen. This could very well be a huge trap game for Miami as there are two stats that carry the most significance. Stat #1 is that Loyola is third (yes, #3) in the country in field-goal percentage. All but one of their starters shoot at least 52% from the field (yes, I typed that number in correctly). The Ramblers also carry a stifling defense that’s fifth in the nation in points allowed. Having the best of both worlds makes them a potentially dangerous team to not only upset Miami, but possibly even make it to the Sweet 16.

As mentioned, 22nd-ranked Miami has had a little bit of experience in the NCAA tournament. Miami is making their third consecutive appearance in the Big Dance and are coming off a first-round exit last year to the hands of Michigan State. This is Jim Larranaga’s 9th appearance in the tournament as a coach and 4th with Miami. With a 22-7 record, Miami is coming off a tough loss to UNC in the ACC Tournament but still have high hopes for the tourney. The Canes thought they suffered a huge loss even before this game was even played as Coach Larranaga announced that star guard Bruce Brown, whom the team was hoping would return for the tournament, would not come back and would miss the rest of the season. But that tone changed on Wednesday when coach made a follow-up announcement that although he won’t play, Brown would be in uniform, but did not give any indication on his status beyond that. Leading scorer and freshman sensation Lonnie Walker still leads the team in scoring with 11.5 points/game and with this game being placed on upset alert, this will be a huge opportunity for Walker to prove himself to not only skeptics, but also to many NBA scouts who many predict will be a member of the “one-and-done” club and declare for the draft. With a tough hard-nosed defense standing between them and the second round, the Canes have to limit any careless turnovers, make sure that ball movement is at its best, and assert their experience.


The game will take place at 3:10 P.M. in Dallas and will be broadcasted on truTV, and the winner will face the winner of the 3-14 matchup between Tennessee and Wright State.

Go Hurricanes!
 

Comments (10)

Nice article but we are blowing this team out.
 
I hope so, I sick of hearing about these a-holes already. Gals L came out and mentioned the disrespect, hopefully it fires the team up.
 
G'day mate! Let's put another shrimp on the barbie!
 
I watched a good amount of their games because I played baseball with Custer's older brother.

I don't think they match up particularly well against Miami. As long as Miami attacks the rim and doesn't settle for jump shots, they will be fine. Because of their lack of shot blocking ability, they try to make things uncomfortable around the rim without fouling. Have to finish around the rim. Huell should have a big day.

Obviously, they can shoot the three so we have to minimize open looks from deep. Thier "center" is undersized but has good hands and doesn't panic when he has the basketball. We can't crash on the driver too hard because Custer is always looking to make a pass for an easy bucket.

Hate that we are playing them in the first round because I wanted to root for them. Oh well, **** em' 73-64 Canes.
 
History indicates another of our famous Tourney "No Mas" performances.
 
Nice article but we are blowing this team out.
I don't know about blowing anyone out. That has only happened twice for us in 2018 -- both times against hapless Pittsburgh. And whether those wins were even blowouts could be debated. I think 12 and 14 point margins. Generally we play very close games.
 
Its funny we do this to ourselves every single year in every sport. We build up our competition like some big monster. This year on the football board they built up Toledo so much you would have thought they were ranked higher than us. Of course we spanked them. We are better than Loyola-Chicago. Doesn't mean we'll beat them. Crazy things happen in the NCAA tournament, but I see no reason to be afraid of Loyola. We've played and beat better teams than them all year. Sure they've got a good defense but Virginia has a much better one. Ham's teams have traditionlly been good defensively. We've seen good defensive teams before.

Question is can we score efficiently? If were shooting like 35% its gonna be a long afternoon.
 
Its funny we do this to ourselves every single year in every sport. We build up our competition like some big monster. This year on the football board they built up Toledo so much you would have thought they were ranked higher than us. Of course we spanked them. We are better than Loyola-Chicago. Doesn't mean we'll beat them. Crazy things happen in the NCAA tournament, but I see no reason to be afraid of Loyola. We've played and beat better teams than them all year. Sure they've got a good defense but Virginia has a much better one. Ham's teams have traditionlly been good defensively. We've seen good defensive teams before.

Question is can we score efficiently? If were shooting like 35% its gonna be a long afternoon.

Well, Toledo did drag us around the field in the first half...IMO problem is until Miami's sports teams stop losing games they shouldn't lose this is going to continue.
 

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