PREVIEW: FGCU Prepares for a Battle in Miami

For their next game, FGCU (2-1) will travel across the alley for a bout with Miami (3-0). As far as opponents go, the Hurricanes are the crown jewel of the Eagles’ non conference schedule. In their 3 victories, they have beaten 2 other ASUN members in North Florida (77-59) and Stetson (82-60). Additionally, they won a closely contested game against Purdue (58-54). Meanwhile, FGCU is looking to improve and show they can play a cleaner brand of basketball and compete with tougher opponents. Below we will break down Miami a bit further, go over their players to watch, discuss potential matchups, give our starting lineup projections, and give our general outlook and predictions for the game.

Miami

After a small retooling of the roster, this Miami team is ready to make noise this year. They are coached by Jim Larrañaga, who has a ton of head coaching experience. Overall, he is the 10 winningest active coach with 660 wins. Over his 9 years in Miami he has amassed a record of 190-113. Last season they featured only 2 seniors and went 15-16 on the season. This year, the Hurricanes come with experience. There are 7 seniors on the roster and 1 junior. They return 4 regular starters from last season. Additionally, the Hurricanes return at least 74% of their starts (74%), steals (80%), blocks (88%), assists (84%), rebounds (78%), and points (77%). Below, we will take a look at the Miami players who should make an impact in the game.

Players to Watch

Chris Lykes

Lykes is the Canes’ leading returning scorer from a season ago. The 5’7″ senior guard has a ton of experience. Over his career he has played in 92 games. Last year, he led the team with about 15 points per game. In 2 games this season, Lykes is averaging about 16 points, 6 assists, and 4 rebounds.

Kameron McGusty

McGusty is another senior contributor for the Hurricanes. The 6’5″, 190 lb guard has good length and versatility to match his solid shooting ability. Last year, he averaged 13 points, 4 rebounds, and a little under 2 assister per game. In 3 games this year, McGusty is averaging 13 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists.

Harlond Beverly

Beverly is an impressive sophomore on this Miami team. As a freshman, the 6’5″, 185 lb guard put up 7 points, 2 rebounds and 2 assists per game while making several starts throughout the year. In 3 games this season, Beverly is proving he can contribute in a lot of ways. So far, he is averaging 8 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals per game.

Isaiah Wong

Wong is another promising Sophomore for the Hurricanes. As a freshman he played in all 31 games, making 13 starts, and averaging 8 points and 3 rebounds per contest. In 3 games this season, the 6’3″, 180 lb guard has put up some impressive numbers. So far he is averaging 16 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 assists per outing.

Nysier Brooks

Brooks is a massive presence that FGCU will have to deal with. The 7’0″, 240 lb senior center is playing his first (and only) season with the Hurricanes after transferring from Cincinnati. Through their first 3 games, Brooks is averaging 7 points and 5 rebounds per game.

Matt Cross

Matt Cross is an extremely impressive freshman for this Miami squad. At 6’7″, 225 pounds, the versatile forward has been ranked as good as the 85th overall player in his class and the 14th overall power forward. Through the first 3 games of his career, Cross is averaging 9 points and 5 rebounds per game.

Matchup Notes

  • Similar to FGCU, the Hurricanes have a fairly balanced offensive attack with any number of guys who could provide a boost on a night to night basis.
  • The Hurricanes are led by 2 senior guards, Lykes and McGusty. The Eagles are also led by a guard tandem in Caleb Catto and Jalen Warren.
  • Maybe the most important matchup of this game is how FGCU’s bigs are able to handle Miami’s size advantage. Against USF, the Eagles struggled to slow down the Bulls’ taller and heavier bigs.

Starting Lineup Projections

FGCUMiami
Jalen Warren – #5Chris Lykes – #0
Franco Miller – #3Isaiah Wong – #2
Caleb Catto – #2Kameron McGusty – #23
Eli Abaev – #14Matt Cross – #33
Justus Rainwater – #32Nysier Brooks – #3

Outlook

Miami is an extremely veteran team with tons of talent. They are still figuring some things out but have managed to be 3-0 in the process, with wins against solid opponents. If FGCU can reasonably contain and handle the Hurricane’s size advantage and their shooting and turnover numbers stabilize, they actually have a shot in this one. However, this us asking a lot of a team that has struggled in these areas. The Eagles will have their hands full in this one.

Predictions

Russell Kelly (3-0)

“Miami opens as nearly 20 point favorites. If FGCU is able to keep the game within 20 (closer to 15) points, I’d actually say that’s a positive. As stated above, there are paths in this game that lead to a victory for the Eagles, but it’s a lot to ask. Hoping for a fun competitive game at least.”

82 – 63 – Miami

Elliott Kresse (2-1)

“I think there will be definite signs of improvement as a team. But will it be enough to take down the Hurricanes in Miami? Not so sure.”

86-72 – Miami

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s