Miami (25-10, 14-6 ACC) ran up and down the court, forcing turnovers and driving to the rim, all weekend long in Greenville, S.C. That, of course, is where the No. 10-seeded Hurricanes pulled two upsets to earn the fourth NCAA Sweet 16 berth in program history, including the third in the last decade.
Led by a starting lineup with an average height of just under 6-foot-5, Miami took down seventh-seeded and No. 21/22-ranked USC, 68-66, and then drilled second-seeded and No. 8/7-ranked Auburn, 79-61. It dished out 33 assists and committed seven turnovers at one end, while forcing 31 turnovers and notching 22 steals at the other end.
Although some might not have noticed the Hurricanes’ thrilling, successful style of play this season, it actually began to gel many months ago.
Following a 4-3 start to the season, Miami is 21-7 in its last 28 games. That stretch began right around the time the offense began to click, although the defense did take some more time to get into its current form.
Miami had its full arsenal, at both ends of the floor, on display in the victory over Auburn. The 18-point triumph is the second-largest by a No. 10-seed over a No. 2-seed in NCAA Tournament history, per ESPN’s Chris Fallica.
It was Charlie Moore, of course, who led the way for the Hurricanes. The consummate floor general, he put up 15 points, a career-high nine rebounds, eight assists and three steals, while committing two turnovers in 36-plus minutes of action. He shot 4-of-8 from the floor, 2-of-3 beyond the arc and 5-of-7 from the line.
Moore’s reward for his tremendous performance is not just a trip to the Sweet 16, but the opportunity to play the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament in his hometown of Chicago.
There, at the United Center, the Hurricanes face No. 11-seeded Iowa State in a clash of double-digit seeds Friday at 9:59 p.m. ET. It is the fourth 10/11 matchup in NCAA Tournament history, all of which have come in the last 12 years.
Iowa State’s starting lineup is nearly identical in height to Miami’s, checking in at just one total inch taller. That is, assuredly, quite different from the opening fives for USC and Auburn.
The Cyclones enter the Sweet 16 at 22-12 (7-11 B12) on the season. They upset sixth-seeded LSU and third-seeded Wisconsin to advance to Chicago.
Iowa State has as many wins this year as it had losses in 2020-21, as head coach TJ Otzelberger inherited a team that went 2-22 last season. A big reason for the turnaround is the team’s toughness.
Miami enters the weekend at 10-10 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, including a superb 6-4 during Larrañaga’s tenure. Including NIT action, the program is 21-22 all-time in postseason play, with an excellent 11-6 under Larrañaga.
The Hurricanes’ matchup with Iowa State will be televised live on TBS HERE, with Kevin Harlan, Dan Bonner, Reggie Miller and Dana Jacobson on the call. Joe Zagacki will have the radio broadcast on AM 560 Sports WQAM HERE, while Kevin Kugler and Robbie Hummel will call the game for Westwood One HERE. In addition, live stats can be found HERE.
The winner of Friday’s affair will take the court Sunday against top-seeded Kansas or fourth-seeded Providence with a spot in the Final Four on the line. The game time and TV designation will be announced at a later time.
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