ACC Scouting Report: Miami

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Mustapha Farrakhan and UVa will try to win the free throw battle again … and the game against Miami.

Virginia couldn’t have had a better warm-up for taking on Miami than facing Georgia Tech. Both teams send a lot of strong, lengthy and athletic players on to the court in droves and use their depth and athleticism to overwhelm opponents. Both teams look similar physically but their philosophies and styles have some definite differences. Let’s take a look at the Hoos’ third ACC opponent of the season.

Miami Offense

In my analysis of the Georgia Tech game I was critical of Paul Hewitt going away from his post players and running his offense from the perimeter. The sets Miami runs on the perimeter are a variation of the sets Georgia Tech went to; the difference is that the Hurricanes run the sets with more complexity and use it as a way of setting up their post game, not to get away from it.

The Miami offense will provide UVa with an excellent measure of where it is on the defensive end. Miami runs a motion offense that will give the Cavaliers the looks they struggled with against Penn State for example. The Hurricanes mainly stick to a 3-around-2 (3 guards around the arc and a post player on each block) motion offense. Sometimes this offense is the simple passing game that Virginia has run coming out of timeouts the last few games, though it is usually has a little more nuances.

Outside of its base offense, Miami likes to have its post players hold their position with the ball-side post setting up and holding position on that side of the court while the weak-side post drifts out toward the weak-side wing to try and draw his man away from help. The drifting post player will sometimes flash to the free throw line, but usually they just try to get enough depth to make the help respect them. Depending on the line-up, situation and play call, one of the post players sometimes drifts outside to give a 41 (4 around 1) look; none of the post players are overly impressive on the perimeter and that player is usually used to come across as a screener.

On the perimeter, Miami runs a