Eye of the Hurricane

February 1, 2009

Misfiring Canes lose layups and their way

Filed under: Uncategorized — tranquilo1212 @ 11:49 am

Well, that was quick.

On January 24th, the Miami Hurricanes men’s basketball team was looking pretty good. Despite being short on point guard depth, they were outhustling teams and playing smarter basketball than their opponents, with a good record to boot. Now, one week and three losses (2 in overtime) later, Miami finds itself in a position of likely having to win 2 of the next 4 games (3 against the elite ACC teams and one at rival Florida State) to even be in good position for the NIT. Quite a disappointment for a team ranked 16th to start the year.

So what have we learned? First, this team overachieved a bit last year and was ranked WAY too high to start the year. The team has the talent to get the ball to the rim, the size to beat anyone in the ACC on the boards and the leadership in Jack McClinton. What it lacks is a good passer at the point, the ability to execute zone defense and, shockingly, the ability to finish layups. All three phases have hurt Miami in several games this season, but the last one has been the difference between Miami being an elite team and an also-ran. Layups indicate that the team is beating the defense to the hoop and they’re supposed to be “gimme points.” Few teams miss from point blank range more than the Hurricanes.

Against Maryland, Miami found itself in a bigger hole because it did not drive to the basket. The Canes have given the Terps fits over the years because of their size, but on Saturday night in College Park, Miami played right into the Turtles’ hands. Maryland was playing the midrange part of the floor on defense, intercepting passes to lead to fast breaks. They essentially dared Miami to beat them from deep, and the Canes fell right into the trap, bricking rushed threes left and right while throwing entry passes in the range of Maryland’s guards, giving them fast break opportunities in a game where Maryland was otherwise just as offensively inept. Only freshman DeQuan Jones drove right at the Terps, making them look as vulnerable as they did in a 40 point drubbing by Duke a week ago. On one particular play, Jones dribble-faked his man twice, blew by him and another defender and dunked ferociously over two more defenders. What this says is that Maryland’s zone was stagnant and looking for passes, and would’ve been feeble against anyone who drive to the hoop. Miami knew this, and used it as a blueprint for likely the most dramatic single-came comeback in program history less than three weeks ago against Maryland. However, the team has simply gone gun-shy from missing too many layups so badly. Perhaps what they need is a contested layup drill to get things going again. However, it’s just looking like the team can’t get this part of basketball fundamentals done, which likely signifies the end of any postseason hope this season. Even with corrected layups, the team is going to need to to pray hard to survive the next two week stretch of games.


1 Comment »

  1. Look at the bright side, baseball season is approaching. Maybe the baseball ream could be the ray of sunshine Miami athletics so desperately needs. Or maybe they will come apart at the seems again and reenact last years debacle in the postseason which when I think about it still makes me want to cringe.

    Comment by wood21 — February 2, 2009 @ 9:33 pm | Reply

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