Head coach Jim Larrañaga and his No. 12 Miami Hurricanes are now 5-0 on the season. The Canes defeated Kansas State, 91-83, in the scenic backdrop of the Baha Mar Resort in Nassau, The Bahamas, capturing the 2023 Bahamas Championship.
Off the back of a heroic 28-point performance, including seven threes from Nijel Pack against his former school, Miami has started its season with five straight wins for the second year in a row and is sure to climb the rankings off of a successful weekend in the Bahamas.
The first half of the tournament championship told a story that saw Miami take full control of the game from end to end, leading by as much as 22 points over the Wildcats. Pack scored 20 of his 28 points in the first half alone, going 6-for-10 from downtown and 7-of-12 from the field to lead all first-half scorers.
Additionally, Norchad Omier went 5-for-8 from the field for 11 points in the half, continuing to be the force in the paint he has always been during his tenure with the Hurricanes. Miami’s defense held the Wildcats to 40% shooting from the field and a paltry 7% from three-point range, helping the ‘Canes take a commanding 47-28 lead at the break.
Will McNair Jr., Kansas State’s leading scorer in the first half, was held to six points on just two made field goals.
The second half saw a different story being told for Miami, as the ‘Canes did their best to keep their foot on the gas, but the Wildcats did not go down quietly. Omier tacked an additional 12 points onto his stat sheet for the game, along with Florida State transfer Matthew Cleveland, who shot 5-for-7 in the half for 10 of his 15 points.
Kansas State’s Cam Carter put the Wildcats on his back to try and get them back in the game. Carter shot the lights out in the second half with 24 points on 10-of-16 shooting from the field, followed by Arthur Kaluma’s 13 points on 4-of-8 shooting.
Despite this effort from the Wildcats, Miami’s scoring kept pace with Kansas State’s late push and held on to secure the 91-83 win in the championship game. The ‘Canes shot 53% from the field and 50% from downtown, a major testament to how experienced a team Larrañaga and his staff have built.
Miami will look to continue its prolific start to the year, as it will face its biggest test so far after the Thanksgiving break. The ‘Canes will travel to Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky to face the No. 17 Wildcats in the first-ever edition of the ACC/SEC Challenge. Tip-off is set for Tuesday, Nov. 28 at 7:30 p.m.
It wasn’t the prettiest of games, but the Miami Hurricanes women’s basketball team was able to keep its unblemished record for the season despite being down four points going into the fourth quarter. The ‘Canes defeated the Southern University Jaguars, 61-57, in a comeback effort this past Friday at the Watsco Center. This was the second all-time meeting for the team with Southern, after winning the previous matchup back in 2010.
Unlike their first two outings of the season, the Hurricanes (3-0) had a frustrating start to the game, falling behind the Jaguars (0-4) by as many as five points and shooting only 29% from the field in the first quarter. They also notably started poorly from the free throw line and ended the game 9-for-20 from the charity stripe. By the end of the first, the ‘Canes were able to grab a small 16-15 lead.
Miami still couldn’t pull away from a tough Southern team through the second quarter, leading 31-25 at halftime.
Despite the Jaguars’ previously winless record, head coach Katie Meier made sure to preach to the Hurricanes not to overlook the opponent on the other end of the floor. Meier also wanted to take advantage of this opportunity to see how the team will respond to adversity before tougher tests down the road.
The start of this second half was much of the same story, with Southern guard Sirviva Legions hitting a falling-away layup while being fouled to knot up the game at 36. Just minutes later, Legions again hit a three-pointer to tie the game just as the shot clock expired. This was all part of a 14-3 second-half run that gave the Jaguars a 43-39 third-quarter lead, leading to a Meier timeout.
Facing their first second-half deficit of the season, junior guard Shayeann Day-Wilson stepped up for the ‘Canes early in the fourth quarter, knocking down a clutch three-pointer, which was quickly followed by another lay-up from guard Ja’Leah Williams to take back the lead.
With two minutes to go, Miami held a slim 58-54 lead that was quickly cut to one with another Southern and-one from junior guard Aleighyah Fontenot. The ‘Canes then responded with a Kyla Oldacre layup, pushing the lead to three. Led by a stellar defensive effort in the final minute, Miami was able to hold the line en route to its third win.
The comeback effort for the ‘Canes was spearheaded by two-way performances from junior guard Jasmyne Roberts and Oldacre, who finished with 17 and 10 points, respectively. The ability of the whole team to attack the offensive boards was key to leading to ball movement and ultimately more baskets from the team. The team had 18 offensive rebounds, with Oldacre leading the way with seven.
Roberts led the team in scoring and took a clutch charge from Southern forward Sky Castro with 30 seconds left to prevent the Jaguars from tying up the game. Roberts was also able to grab three steals that led to several much-needed buckets for Miami.
In her second career start, Oldacre quickly was able to get to the rim, battling through two defenders to make a contested layup for an and-1 opportunity early in the game. In terms of hustle stats, the 6-foot-6 sophomore was able to grab seven offensive rebounds, two blocks and a steal. Oldacre was coming off an encouraging performance against Fordham, where she had seven points and eight rebounds while going all-out on both ends of the floor.
Day-Wilson, a transfer from Duke, also had her best game in a Hurricanes uniform so far, tallying two three-pointers and three important steals.
Southern was led in scoring by Soniyah Reed with 12 points. It also had strong contributions from Fontenot and Legions, who each scored 11. The Jaguars had their highest scoring game of the year to date after previously dropping their first three games, all against major conference opponents in Baylor, Texas and Purdue.
Miami will get a week to prepare for its next outing, where it will host the Colgate Raiders as part of the annual Miami Thanksgiving Tournament on Friday, Nov. 24 at 4 p.m.
The Ziff Ballet Opera House at the Adrienne Arsht Center welcomed Hasan Minhaj — an Indian-American comedian, writer, producer, political commentator, actor and television host — for his “Off With His Head” comedy tour on Friday, Nov. 17.
The audience of over 2,200 eager fans laughed and cheered as the animated comedian tackled topics of modern politics, the rise of AI, therapy and Indian culture. Hasan’s demeanor felt like he was talking to a friend, sharing stories as one would when reconnecting with a close confidante.
Minhaj opened the show poking fun at the massive wealth in Miami. Before coming to the city, he was stunned by the cost of property on sites like Zillow.com, wondering how the average person could afford this way of life.
“What the f— do you all even do here?” Minhaj jokingly asked the audience.
He transitioned into his niche of political commentary, telling an anecdote from his Washington D.C. show last year. He recalled the Secret Service alerting him to a member of the First Family in the crowd, and how he wished it would be Hunter Biden, going on to drug and sexual jokes to explain his fascination with the son.
“Republicans hate Hunter because he is better than all of them. He represents them — hates taxes, loves guns, and sleeps with his family,” Minhaj said, referring to Biden’s affair with his late brother’s wife.
Using the Republican party as his punchline, the comedian noticed how some of the audience is more responsive than others.
“I love making these jokes in Florida,” Minhaj said.
He consistently remarked “I don’t want you to take me literally” or “I have receipts” throughout the show, referring to a recent New Yorker article accusing him of making up content for jokes, to which he responded in his usual satirical fashion.
“I went against a white woman with a keyboard. I was accused of embellishing for dramatic effects,” Minhaj said. “Don’t fact-check these jokes.”
Speaking directly to the men in the audience, he joked about the male affinity towards cryptocurrency and their tendency to act abruptly and confidently. Connecting it to the male mid-life crisis, Minhaj said it’s “misguided self-improvement,” as he too fell for the Bitcoin trend after watching a single TikTok.
“A lot of men aren’t laughing,” Minhaj said, noticing the crowd.
Involving women in the conversation, he compared the men they are interested in to speculative assets like Bitcoin — volatile, deregulated and uninsured.
“Ladies, you invest in us, so who is dumber?” Minhaj said.
Minhaj frequently interacted with the audience, chatting directly with couples in the front row and incorporating their answers into his set. The audience interacted with the comedian, yelling to him from the crowd where he would respond, almost a conversation.
Conversing with a couple in medical school, he brought up the looming threat of artificial intelligence and how they “won’t lose their job to AI.”
“I think AI will kill us, because it will see how we treated Wikipedia,” Minhaj said. “It came out of nowhere — it feels like the new crypto.”
Minhaj referred to the first time he heard about artificial intelligence and assumed they were abbreviating Asians and Indians, the original AI.
“We treat ChatGPT like an Asian kid you’re bullying in high school,” Minhaj said.
Minhaj then described some of the microaggressions, grievances and commentary he has experienced over his last couple tours, starting with the mispronunciation of his name by celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres.
“She’s a 65-year-old lesbian from Metairie, and I expected her to speak Urdu?” Minhaj incredulously asked the roaring crowd.
It wouldn’t be a Minhaj show without references to Indian culture. He references his time in individual and couples therapy in an attempt to break the cycle of lack of affection from his immigrant parents, and how he secretly tries to win at couples therapy.
“I just don’t want to be the problem,” Minhaj said.
Minhaj expressed the importance of finding a therapist that understands you culturally, sharing a memory with his first therapist who attempted to have him set boundaries with his mother — all because he answered her phone call.
“We’re not like you. We don’t let them die in nursing homes,” Minhaj said.
Hasan closed out the show referring to his “good boy syndrome,” a consequence of being the eldest child of immigrants and always wanting to appease everyone, especially his parents.
“F— those Indian mama’s boys, but I hope my son loves his mama,” Minhaj said, wrapping up the night.
Despite the large crowd and venue, Minhaj had a comfortable stage presence and frequently remarked how he could see and speak to each person in the audience.
His dynamic movements — from moving with the microphone, falling, sitting and running — added to his storytelling. Minhaj also utilized various facial expressions, voices and sound effects that prompted fits of laughter with each punchline.
This was a show I was glad to see. As the daughter of first-generation immigrants, I could not stop laughing and commended his ability to bring lightness to the experience — Minhaj has always had a unique way of approaching the subject matter.
His upbeat energy and quips towards celebrities, family members and the audience allowed him to reach into his breadth of personal experiences and observations to fill the compelling, ninety-minute set.
To get tickets for future “Off With His Head” tour dates, visit hasanminhaj.com.
Coming off a tough four-set rivalry loss against Florida State, the University of Miami faced a tough customer in the No. 9 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets on Nov. 17.
The Hurricanes sought to cash in on a big-time matchup, and they surely delivered in their last home game of the year. It was all Miami on Friday night at the James L. Knight Sports Complex, crushing the Yellow Jackets in a 3-0 sweep for the second time this season.
The first set was tightly contested through the early stages before Miami began to pull away. Flormarie Heredia Colon led the ‘Canes in the first frame with six kills and two assists, plus a solo block.
The Yellow Jackets did their best to keep it close, but Miami made sure it would not go down against a top-10 team early. Abby Casiano finished it off with a kill to give Miami the 25-21 victory in the first set.
Set two told a much different story for the ‘Canes (17-9, 10-5 ACC) , as they sought to make quick work of the Yellow Jackets (21-5, 12-4 ACC) off their early set advantage. Lopez and Angela Grieve led Miami’s scoring early, notching four and three kills, respectively, to bring the score to 11-7.
After a series of errors by Georgia Tech that stretched out Miami’s advantage, the Hurricanes took advantage and pulled ahead for a 5-0 run midway through the set. Lopez and Savannah Vach doubled up for two kills apiece to help put Miami comfortably ahead at 21-14. The Canes finished off set two, 25-17, with a solo block from Janice Leao that ignited a packed crowd at the Knight Complex.
Hungry for victory over a top-10 squad in their final home game, the ‘Canes held nothing back going to what would be the third and final set. Heredia Colon was once again the star of the show for Miami, logging six kills in a 25-14 victory that was all but an end-to-end dominant set for the ‘Canes. Her six kills included the knockout punch with a kill to seal the upset win for UM.
In Friday night’s home finale, Miami held the lead throughout all three sets, not once allowing Georgia Tech to lead. The Yellow Jackets were also held to a meager .098 hitting percentage, a testament to Miami’s hard work on defense in the match.
Stat leaders for Miami included Heredia Colon with 15 kills, along with a monstrous .682 kill percentage, followed closely by Lopez with 12 kills and three service aces. Vach served up a massive 35 assists for the ‘Canes and had two service aces.
Up next, Miami will face the Pittsburgh Panthers at Fitzgerald Field House on Wednesday, Nov. 22. Game time is set for 7 p.m.
In honor of Miami forward Lionel Messi’s eighth Ballon d’Or, Inter Miami hosted New York City FC for a “Noche d’Or” friendly match at DRV PNK Stadium on Nov. 10, 2023. Here’s a look back at the match and festivities:
A top-10 win slipped through the Miami Hurricanes’ fingers on Saturday afternoon thanks to a series of errors that gave No. 10 Louisville a 38-31 victory at Hard Rock Stadium. The Cardinals clinched a spot in the ACC title game against No. 4 Florida State with their win.
Miami had four plays to tie the game late in the fourth quarter at the Louisville 4. Instead, quarterback Tyler Van Dyke threw three incomplete passes, the last of which sailed over wide receiver Jacolby George’s head.
Prior to that drive, the Cardinals took the lead when defensive backs Te’Cory Couch and Jaden Davis collided in coverage, freeing up Kevin Coleman Jr. for a 58-yard touchdown.
While a last-second Hail Mary fell into wide receiver Xavier Restrepo’s hand after a deflection, he was tackled five yards short of the end zone as time expired, giving Miami its third consecutive loss. The Hurricanes fell to NC State two weeks ago before almost defeating Florida State in Tallahassee last week.
“We’ve made so much progress and we’re dragging these games into the fourth quarter and we are in position to take over and win,” Miami coach Mario Cristobal said. “And now we’ve got to have that breakthrough on a consistent basis.”
Van Dyke went 24 of 39 for 327 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions, and Restrepo had a career-high 193 receiving yards. Running back Mark Fletcher Jr. led the ground game with 126 yards and two touchdowns, along with a 54-yard rush.
“I’m happy,” Fletcher said of his success this season. “ … but the standard at Miami is to win, and I’m just a big team guy, no matter what I do individually. I just want to win, and we didn’t do that today.”
Miami’s offense looked revitalized following two disappointing losses characterized by shaky quarterback play. Quarterback Tyler Van Dyke returned to the starting role on Saturday, one week after being benched for freshman Emory Williams, and led three first-half touchdown drives.
“I was just seeing a lot of things a lot better today,” Van Dyke said.
The ‘Canes first scoring drive showcased their newfound explosiveness, which had been absent since conference play began. Van Dyke threw a 43-yard strike to Jacolby George over the middle of the field, and one play later, running back Mark Fletcher Jr. ran 21 yards for a touchdown to tie the game at 7.
Aided by a spectacular Kam Kinchens’ interception, Miami began its next possession on the 50-yard line and needed just four plays to find the end zone. Xavier Restrepo caught a 15-yard pass to give the ‘Canes their first lead, 14-7, with 3:17 left in the first quarter.
But the Cardinals met every Hurricane punch with a scoring drive of their own. Louisville used its rushing attack on five consecutive plays, gaining 45 yards, and running back Isaac Guerendo tied the game with his 12-yard run.
Midway through the second quarter, a reversal play gave the Hurricanes the lead once again. Van Dyke faked the handoff and flipped the ball to wide receiver Bradshard Smith, who took off in the opposite direction for a 34-yard rushing touchdown. Offensive lineman Francis Mauigoa flattened a Cardinal defender on the play, making way for the score.
Miami allowed a last-second touchdown but blocked the extra point to take a 21-20 lead into halftime. The Hurricanes were outscored 18-10 in the second half.
Miami will face Boston College next Friday, Nov. 24, on the road in its regular season finale. Kickoff is set for noon.
Head coach Jim Larranaga and the Miami Hurricanes advanced to 4-0 on the season after defeating the Georgia Bulldogs, 79-67, to open up play in the Baha Mar Hoops Invitational.
Both sides began this match slowly offensively, though junior transfer Matthew Cleveland got the scoring going for the Hurricanes on an easy runout and finger roll in transition. Both ends executed their fast pace of play, though Miami found more success when it was able to settle into its half-court offense.
While the Hurricanes have proven their love for the three-ball in their first three games of the season, they began 1-of-8 from deep. Wooga Poplar, who burst out of the gates averaging over 20 points per game to begin the season, started off cold, shooting 0-of-6 from the field.
Cleveland continued his campaign for transfer of the year, as he led all scorers with 18 points on an efficient 8-of-13 shooting.
The Bulldogs wouldn’t go away in the first half, and the ‘Canes led 39-29 going into halftime.
The Hurricanes exploded offensively to begin the second half and bubbled the lead up to 16 by the 13-minute mark. On the other end of the floor, Miami forced the Bulldogs to begin the half, shooting 2-of-11. The ‘Canes took their largest lead of the game with ten minutes remaining, with Norchad Omier sidelined for most of the second due to early foul trouble.
Georgia slowly brewed a comeback around the five-minute mark, led by Jabri Abdur-Rahim and freshman Blue Cain, though their efforts fell short, resulting in an 11-point victory for the ‘Canes.
Each of Miami’s starting five players reached double figures, and Miami was able to stay active on the glass despite Omier’s early three fouls. While Poplar struggled early on, he was able to finish with his first double-double of the season, ending with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Bensley Joseph played a team-high 37 minutes and was able to compile an efficient 13 points, six rebounds and three assists.
Miami will face off with Kansas State in the Baha Mar Hoops Bahamas Championship at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday.
On the heels of a hard-fought yet heartbreaking loss to the Florida State Seminoles, the Miami Hurricanes will take on the team likely to face off with FSU in the ACC title game. Apart from a baffling loss to Pittsburgh, the Louisville Cardinals have exceeded expectations this season as the tenth-best team in the nation.
A balanced offensive attack, spearheaded by junior running back Jawhar Jordan and complemented by the steady play of quarterback Jack Plummer, has led a resurgent Louisville team back to the top ten for the first time since former NFL MVP quarterback Lamar Jackson was under center for the Cardinals.
Louisville has a clear path to the ACC championship game against Florida State, but the ‘Canes would love nothing more than to play spoiler for their conference foe and gain momentum going into next season.
Miami lost quarterback Emory Williams in the closing minutes of its loss to the Seminoles, so that Tyler Van Dyke will be back as the starter. Van Dyke has struggled mightily since returning from his injury in late October, as he has zero touchdowns to six interceptions throughout three games.
Van Dyke will need to get at least somewhat back to the player he was at the start of the season for Miami to challenge a tough Cardinals team. Louisville allows only 17.1 points per game to its opponents, so it could be challenging for the ‘Canes to put points on the board.
However, considering how consistent Miami’s defense has been for most of the season, the Hurricanes need to control time of possession and limit turnovers to have a shot at an upset.
The Hurricanes’ defense has been almost as tough on opposing teams as Louisville’s, as the ‘Canes only give up 20.7 points per game. Freshman standout Reuben Bain Jr. has been a massive part of the defense’s success, as he has totaled 6.5 sacks and two forced fumbles in an impressive freshman campaign.
Suppose Miami’s front seven can limit the effectiveness of Louisville’s stout running game, and the secondary can force a handful of errors on the Cardinals. In that case, the Hurricanes certainly have a chance to pull off a shocker.
While the season has disappointed many Canes fans, an upset over the tenth-ranked team in the country could give the program the boost it needs heading into the end of the season and next season.
Kickoff for Saturday’s game at Hard Rock Stadium will start at noon, and the game will air on ABC.
“Cleveland for the win … It’s good! Matthew Cleveland stuns Miami!” exclaimed a television broadcaster as then-Florida State guard Matthew Cleveland hit a shot from mid-court as time expired to cap off a 25-point second-half deficit and beat Miami at the Watsco Center.
This was most of the Miami faithful’s introduction to Cleveland. Fast forward about eight months later, and he is the talk of the town in Coral Gables.
“My main thing entering the transfer portal was to go somewhere I can win,” the big offseason addition for Miami said during UM’s media day.
Heading into the 2023-24 college basketball season, the theme for the Hurricanes is all about keeping momentum. There is a lot of hype surrounding the program after coming off of its first Elite Eight run in 2022, followed by a trip to the Final Four last season.
Miami lost two key contributors from each run in ACC Player of the Year Isaiah Wong and 15.3 point per game scorer Jordan Miller to the NBA draft. The loss of star talent begs the question: how will Miami keep it going? Head coach Jim Larranaga followed that up with the recruitment of Cleveland.
Miami’s new tar was welcomed to UM in May and has been the epicenter of conversation heading into the new season. A guy who played just up i95 in Tallahassee last year, Cleveland is a 6-foot-7, 208-pound wing with incredible size and athleticism.
“The biggest thing I saw was the success they have had with transfers,” Cleveland said. “Year-to-year, the transfers here have been successful.”
In Miami’s first three games of the season, Cleveland has been a main reason for the team’s successful 3-0 start. Cleveland recorded a 16-point double-double against N.J.I.T., followed by a fantastic defensive effort against UCF that included three steals and two blocked shots.
His most recent game against FIU brought out the star potential Miami sees in Cleveland. On Monday night, Cleveland recorded 23 points on 80% shooting and went three for three from beyond the arc.
It has been a long road for Cleveland, but it finally feels like the right spot for a guy with exponential potential.
Cleveland’s game makes him one of the most fascinating players to watch in the country. At his size, he can practically play any role on the court. Cleveland uses his size to attack downhill quickly, and once he decides to rise up to the rim, it is not so wise to jump with him. In just three games, Cleveland looks to be a very nice fit alongside scoring guards Wooga Poplar and Nijel Pack.
Cleveland’s length and quickness make him an elite defender that can guard all five positions, something Miami has been missing the past two years. The versatility of Cleveland as a positionless defender and his rebounding ability are vital for the Hurricanes as the season progresses.
Rewinding back to high school, Cleveland has always been a name to watch out for. As a five-star recruit, Cleveland was the 27th-ranked player in the country, according to 247Sports. Cleveland always showed a lot of potential because of his size combined with athletic ability, but he did not reach his full potential until he truly started to grow into himself. Cleveland started at Cambridge High School in Milton, Georgia before transferring to the well-known Pace Academy, and that is where things ramped up for him.
At Pace, Cleveland led his team to two 2A state championships, averaging over 22 points per game in his two years and a double-double in his senior year. He chose Florida State as his home over the likes of North Carolina, Michigan, Kansas and Kentucky.
Cleveland’s skillset was on full display out the gate, making an immediate impact as a true freshman. He started eight games and averaged 11.5 points per game, 4.6 rebounds per game and shot 45% from the field. He followed that up with an even better sophomore season, starting every game and averaging 13.8 points per game, 7.4 rebounds per game and a drastically improved three-pointer, something that continues to improve.
Unfortunately for Cleveland, Florida State’s program had been struggling immensely, and he wanted to play somewhere else.
The switch to Miami seemed like a no-brainer. The Hurricanes were in major need of a player with the style of Cleveland.
Cleveland truly is the best player Larrañaga could’ve added to this system and will be implemented into the lineup in multiple different ways. Defensively, Miami needed a player who could defend multiple positions, and that is one of Cleveland’s strong suits. He has the size to guard down low, and if he is on a guard and gets blown by, he has the athletic ability to recover for a block. Working alongside forward Norchad Omier down low, the ‘Canes will have a strong defensive presence in the paint throughout the year.
Cleveland’s ability to run the floor is going to fit in perfectly with Miami’s transitional game. Expect Cleveland’s offensive game to continue to fit nicely for fastbreak buckets. On offense, Cleveland can play alongside Omier in the post, bring the ball up the floor or even be a pure wing if he needs to.
Miami’s style under Larrañaga is the type of environment where a sensational athlete like Cleveland is going to shine. It will be exciting to see how the coaching staff can creatively incorporate the versatility of Cleveland into the game plan.
Through its first three games, Miami looks sharp and polished on both sides of the ball, with Cleveland leading the way.
“This is definitely the most talented team I have been a part of … I want to win,” Cleveland said.
Miami has gotten a taste of college basketball glory, and the time is now. If the Hurricanes want to take another big step this season, it is going to take difference-makers. Cleveland can be that difference-maker who can take over a game.
The Miami Hurricanes have kicked off the season with a 3-0 record. Their hot start has come from convincing wins over their first two opponents, NJIT and UCF, and a tight win over in-county rival FIU. Miami sits first in the ACC while ranking 12th in the AP Poll. Soon, the ‘Canes will depart to the Bahamas to take on big-time opponents in the Baha Mar Classic. Before the ‘Canes head off to paradise, let’s review their first three games at home.
Matthew Cleveland is Making a Big Impact as a Transfer
Miami made a single addition through the transfer portal in the off-season. Junior Matthew Cleveland came from the Panhandle to South Florida to play for Jim Larrañaga and the ‘Canes and wasted time making an impact on his new team. Currently, Cleveland is second on the team in points, scoring 17 a game, second in rebounds with 6.7, and tied for second in assists with 3.7.
The do-it-all guard is playing more as a big this season in Miami’s small-ball style. Cleveland is often seen crashing the boards on offense and has been doing a terrific job generating second-chance points. Typically, Cleveland has not had to be as physical as he’s been so far in his time at Miami, but Cleveland has been putting up great numbers in his third season of college basketball in his role.
“He’s been a great addition to our program,” said coach Larrañaga. “One of the nice things about having Matt Cleveland is he knew who we were before he transferred. He had interest in us because he’d played against us. He said, ‘Hey, I think I fit into your program’.”
The Georgia native has not just fit in; he’s excelled. Cleveland was named player of the game in the tightly contested contest against FIU. Without Cleveland’s clutch shots in that game, the ‘Canes may have let that one slip away. The FSU transfer is doing a tremendous job replacing Jordan Miller in the ‘Canes offense.
Role-Players From Last Season are Stepping Up
During Miami’s Final Four run, Isaiah Wong and Miller led the team, while Wooga Poplar and Bensely Joseph played roles as complementary players. This season, Poplar and Joseph have been the stars.
Poplar is the team’s leading scorer with 20.7 points per game and has been deadly accurate from three-point land – hitting 70 percent of his attempts from behind the arc. That’s almost unheard of. The Philadelphia native is playing the best basketball of his career and has set new career highs in two of his three games.
“[Wooga]’s an incredible three-point shooter and incredible pull-up jumper, he can make his free throws, he’s great going to the basket,” said Larrañaga after Poplar’s career-high 23 points against UCF. “As long as he stays in control of his own abilities, he’s going to have a sensational year.”
Joseph has turned into a necessity on both ends of the floor. The Massachusetts native was considered an elite on-ball defender last season but lacked confidence on offense. Joseph has been fearless in letting it fly this season and has had success with his shots – hitting 60 percent of all of them and 64.3 percent from three-point range.
“He’s (Joseph) great. He’s playing with a lot of confidence,” said Larrañaga. “The thing is, he keeps focusing on his defense. You let the offense come. You don’t focus on the offense cause then you get distracted and don’t play good defense. But, he’s really engaged himself on the defensive end of the floor and just let his offense materialize.”
Turnovers and Fouls are Persistent Issues
However, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows for the undefeated ‘Canes. Coach Larrañaga is not pleased with the amount of turnovers that the team is producing. Miami has been sloppy with the ball on offense, and it almost came back to bite them against FIU. In addition to the turnovers, Larrañaga is frustrated with the foul trouble Norchad Omier is getting himself into.
“Do I like him (Omier) sitting on the bench next to me for half the game? No,” said coach Larrañaga. “He’s got to be more self-disciplined.”
Larrañaga has talked about these issues after every single Miami victory. In all three post-game press conferences, Larrañaga has brought up that Miami has been careless with the ball on offense and that Omier has been getting into foul trouble.
“Sometimes the game comes down to very simple things… the two things I really don’t like, when we’re on offense I don’t like turnovers and when we’re on defense I don’t like fouls.”
These problems can become a significant concern as Miami takes on stricter opponents in the coming weeks.
Catch the ‘Canes in action this Friday as they take on the Georgia Bulldogs in the Bahamas. The ‘Canes will look to move to 4-0 before a ranked matchup with SEC powerhouse and college basketball blueblood Kentucky Wildcats. Tip-off for this matchup is set for 3:30 P.M. and can be seen on CBSSN.
Coming off a tough loss against No. 6 Pittsburgh, Miami was looking for a bounce back win on the road in a rivalry rematch versus Florida State (20-8, 14-2 ACC). The ‘Canes fell short and dropped the match 3-1.
Set one began with both teams trading runs back and forth. Leading the offense early for the ‘Canes was freshman Grace Lopez with five kills and redshirt senior Angela Grieve with four kills.
This trading eventually ended late in the first set when UM pulled away, going on a 4-0 run thanks to three attack errors by the Seminoles to make the score 21-18. However, FSU did not go away without a fight and managed to bring the set to within one point at 24-23.
Luckily for the Hurricanes, a Lopez kill finished off a much-needed victory in set one by a score of 25-23.
Set two was a completely different story than the first. Rather than going back and forth, the Seminoles (20-8, 14-2 ACC) jumped out to an early 12-5 lead. That lead forced Miami (16-9, 9-6 ACC) to be in comeback mode for the entirety of the set and proved to be enough as the Hurricanes dropped the set, 25-21.
Despite the loss in set two, the ‘Canes saw good play from sophomore Flormarie Heredia Colon with five kills and fifth-year setter Savannah Vach with two kills, along with a handful of assists.
Set three began similarly to set two, as it saw the Seminoles jump out to a quick 10-5 lead, but unlike the second set, the Hurricanes managed to take that lead back in the middle of the set following a kill by graduate student Janice Leao.
Florida State responded to the ‘Canes comeback with two quick points of their own and was content to trade points for the rest of the set. The ‘Noles did exactly that, resulting in a two-point victory in set three, 25-23.
Set four was tightly contested, with many lead changes. Miami can attribute most of its offense in this set to Lopez, who racked up an outstanding nine kills in this set alone. Unfortunately for the Hurricanes, the Seminoles went on a run at the end of the set, winning 25-21 and defeating Miami 3-1 in the match.
Match leaders for the ‘Canes were Lopez with a career-high 27 kills, good for ninth all-time in program history in a single match, Leao with four blocks, Vach with 54 assists and junior Yaidaliz Rosado with 17 digs.
Next up for Miami, it will head back home for Senior Night on Friday at 7 p.m. to face a tough No. 11 Georgia Tech (21-4, 12-3 ACC) team that it swept on the road in Atlanta earlier in the season.
UM students were given the unique opportunity by NBC News to work and attend the live broadcasting of the third Republican Presidential debate in Miami on Wednesday, Nov. 8.
Whether they were working as production assistants in the days leading up to the debate or sitting in the live audience, University of Miami students got to hear what the five front-running GOP candidates had to say in their final debate before the Iowa caucus on Jan. 15, 2024.
“All week I had this vision about how the debate would go, what the candidates would say, and all the things that could go right and wrong.” said senior broadcast journalism major Charly Hill.
“Before this, I had never watched a Republican debate, I’d only seen clips on social media of the highlights of the super dramatic moments. Although there were those super dramatic moments, I also paid attention to the little things that might go unnoticed or not spoken about a lot.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie took the stage at the Adrienne Arsht Center, battling for the spotlight and presenting their stances on former president Donald Trump, TikTok, abortion and anti-semitism on college campuses.
“The discourse on abortion was by far the most interesting and varied with candidates like Scott encouraging a 15-week ban and Haley opposing a federal ban while respecting the decision of pro-choice states,” said junior international studies and economics major, Bryn Prosser.
“Haley has been rising in the polls while DeSantis will be slipping, so in the next couple weeks we will see whether Haley’s strong performance boosts her standing in the polls or leaves it unchanged.”
Twenty students from UM and Florida International University worked as student production assistants completing small tasks like setting the stage and preparing the candidates and moderators backstage rooms. Students were also given the opportunity to fill in as stand-ins for the candidates and moderators for mock run-throughs of the debate. This allowed technical crews at NBC to make sure their technical equipment was functioning properly before the broadcast.
“I was moderator Kristen Welker’s stand-in and Zachari Levy was Chris Christie’s stand-in.” Hill said. “We had to act as if we were actually them so I was reading Welker’s scripts while Zachary responded as if he was Chris Christie.”
The hands-on broadcast experience gave the aspiring journalists a taste of what a future in political media could look like.
“The experience of working the debate was something unique for me,” junior political science major Zachari Levy said. “Seeing the extensive preparations that go into a two-hour broadcast made me realize that it takes a lot of effort to run these marquee events smoothly.”
Watching the debate live gave in-person audience members a look into what the five-minute highlight reels released the next day failed to show.
“My biggest takeaway from seeing the debate in person was to watch actions as well as words,” junior broadcast journalism and political science major Billie Brightman said. “By paying attention to hand gestures or facial expressions, you can really tell how a candidate would run the country as commander in chief.”
Whether it was receiving TV etiquette instructions from “NBC Nightly News” anchor, Lester Holt, or watching the candidates engage with their families after the cameras shut off, the live audience was able to pick up much more than what is seen on TV.
“It was quite interesting to see the candidates interact with each other on stage during the commercial breaks after criticizing each other just moments earlier,” Levy said.
After listening to the candidates’ responses to questions asked by moderators Holt, “Meet the Press” moderator Kristen Welker and Salem Radio Network’s Hugh Hewitt, students left the debate with a newfound motivation to pay attention to the decisions driving voters to the polls for the 2024 Presidential election.
“I absolutely need to pay attention and be an informed citizen on what candidates are saying, because next year one of these people might be running our country.” Hill said.
The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published in print every Tuesday and online everyday during the academic year.