In what was a heart wrenching domination at the hands of a meticulous Villanova team, the Miami men’s basketball team was ejected from the NCAA Tournament in the Sweet Sixteen. Villanova managed to expose Miami’s fatal hamartias of a weak bench, utter dearth of depth, and lack of scoring presence outside of Angel Rodriguez and Sheldon McCellan. This was a team that was carried by the two senior guards, and when the two’s offensive outputs were kept under control by Villanova, the rest of the team inevitably failed to compensate. Meanwhile, the typically excellent interior defense anchored by the imposing 7’2 Tonye Jekiri was unable to slow Villanova’s attack while they also found holes in the zone defense leading to a blistering 62.7 shooting percentage. Nonetheless, this is an impressive twenty win season with a solid tournament showing that head coach Jim Larrananga can further use to build the basketball program. Prior to Larrananga’s arrival it would have been scoffed at to mention the prospect of even qualifying for the NCAA tournament or coming near to contending for an ACC title, but Larrananga has managed to not only up the talent of the team but also the expectations as the Miami program has become a true contender in the ACC and the national conversation.
The Canes lose quite a few pieces from this past season’s senior laden squad going forward, but luckily, they also will boast some of the most promising young talent in the nation with Dewan Huell, Bruce Brown, and Rodney Miller en route to the ‘U’ in this year’s stellar recruiting class. This is the end of what has been an outstanding 2016 campaign for the Canes, and the team will look to build off their success for next season.