MIAMI – The 2023 NCAA Tournament continues on Friday with an exciting Round of 64 matchup between the No. 12 Drake Bulldogs and No. 5 Miami Hurricanes.
The Hurricanes (25-7) won the ACC regular season championship and fell to Duke in the semifinals of the ACC Tournament.
Miami Hurricanes Head Coach Jim Larranaga told Local 10 News at the team’s last shoot around practice that he wants his guys to have fun and stay focused for the big game.
“Playing the underdog role is fine with me, but the bottom line is that it doesn’t matter who you play or where you play. What does matter though, is how you play,” he said. “You have got to execute your game plan better than the opponent executes its game plan.”
Canes Sophomore guard Bensley Joseph said he feels that his team will be ready for the challenge.
“Throughout the season, we felt like we could’ve done better for ourselves. It’s a journey, but that journey has ended (and) now it’s survive and advance,” he said. “We just have to play with that mentality to win or go home.”
News and notes:
College basketball analysts predict that the 5-seed vs. 12-seed match-up will be one of the popular upset picks in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.
Since 2000, a 12-seed has beat a 5-seed in every year except four times.
Guard Isaiah Wong, the ACC Player of the Year, is UM’s leading scorer at 16.2 points per game.
Drake is led by forward Tucker DeVries, who was named the Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year and is averaging 19 points per game.
Hurricanes star center Norchad Omier sustained an ankle injury early in that contest against the Blue Devils and Miami lost 85-78. Duke went on to win the ACC Tournament.
The status of his ankle will be monitored by brackets all week.
Point guard Roman Penn is second in scoring on the Bulldogs with 12.6 points per game with 5.4 assists.
The Bulldogs won the MVC Tournament Sunday with a 77-51 win over Bradley.
Last year, Miami was a ten-seed and made a run to the elite eight before falling to the Kansas Jayhawks, the 2022 NCAA champions.
Tip-off against the Bulldogs is set for 7:25 p.m. With a win, the Canes will advance to the round of 32.