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The Miami Hurricanes begins the nonconference portion of its schedule against the Florida Atlantic Owls at the Watsko Center. Both squads opened their season on Tuesday. Miami is coming off a loss to Louisville while FAU defeated Divis on II-Flagler College. The Hurricanes lead the all-time series against the Owls 23-1, which includes taking last year’s contest by a 75-55 decision.
FAU looking to begin season with consecutive winsFAU is looking to open the season with consecutive wins for a second straight year. FAU defeated Flagler College 92-81 behind 20 points from grad transfer Cornelius Taylor off the bench. Taylor, who previously played at D-II Lincoln Memorial, connected on seven of 10 shots from the field and three of four beyond the arc. Flagler kept things close for the first five minutes of action but Jailyn Ingram, making his first appearance since tearing his ACL that limited him to 10 appearances last year, scored on a layup to ignite a 15-0 run by the Owls to make it 25-9. FAU would extend its lead to as many as 25 points before heading into halftime with 53-32 lead. Trailing 73-51 with a little less than 11 minutes remaining, Flagler used a 25-9 spurt to get within 82-77 at the 4:26 mark. But the Owls answered right back by scoring nine straight points, six of which was from Cornelius -- three free throws and a triple - to push the lead back to double figures. Karlis Silins and Michael Forest contributed 13 and 12 points, respectively. 6-9 sophomore Madiaw Niang added six points along with a team-high nine rebounds. FAU shot the ball well making over 50% of its shots in both halves, sinking 33 of 64 (52.4%) shots overall and 11 of 26 (42.3%) from beyond the arc though just 15 of 23 (65.3%) from the charity stripe.
FAU is coming off its first winning campaign since 2010-11. The Owls return eight players returning from that squad (17-16) which became only the third team in program history to reach the postseason. Ingram is the top returnee as he averaged 18.9 points and 8.2 caroms before getting injured.
Jim Larranaga seeking 100th career home victoryHead coach Jim Larranaga has done a fantastic job since taking over the Hurricanes' program before the 2011 season. Larranaga has compiled a 175-98 record, with 99 of those wins coming at the Watsco Center, and reached the postseason six times. However, last year was not one of his finest campaigns as the Hurricanes mostly used a seven man-rotation and finished with a losing (14-18) record. Miami entered this year with an older, deeper, and more experienced team. Grad transfer Keith Stone is still recovering from his knee injury and will not be available for action until December.
The 2019 season-opener could not have gone anywhere close to the way the Larranaga imagined it as No. 5 Louisville grossly overmatched his Hurricanes in their 78-65 loss on Tuesday. Miami held a 16-7 lead with less than 12 minutes left in the opening half, but the Cardinals used a 17-0 run over the following four minutes to take control of the contest. Louisville led by 19 points at halftime and increased it to as many as 32 mid-way through the second half. Trailing 85-58, the Hurricanes outscored Louisville 16-2 over the final 3:52 to make the final score respectable. Chris Lykes led the way for the Hurricanes with 18 points and five assists. Lykes finished the game making seven of 15 shots from the field and two of four from beyond the arc, but he struggled with his shot-selection in the early going, missing six of his first nine attempts. Dejan Vasiljevic (16 points, four rebounds, three assists) made six of 10 shots from the field and four of seven from long distance, which included his 200th career triple. Oklahoma transfer Kevin McGusty (12 points) reached double-figures in his debut with the Hurricanes while 7-foot center Rodney Miller added six points along with a team-high nine rebounds. Heralded freshmen Anthony Walker (nine points, five rebounds), Harlond Beverley (4-for-11 FGs, nine points), and Isaiah Wong (1-for-6 FGs, two points) had their up-and-downs. Miami lost nearly every statistical category as they were outshot from the field (54%-to-43.5%), in 3-point% (47.4%-to41.7%), and FT% (71.4%-to-36.4%). The Hurricanes were also outrebounded 40-35, although they did win the turnover battle (13-10).
The following trends are courtesy of Covers.com:
- Hurricanes are 5-1-1 ATS in their last 7 games following a straight up loss.
- Hurricanes are 3-1-1 ATS in their last 5 games following an ATS loss.
- Owls are 8-20 ATS in their last 28 games following a straight up win.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
While I believe that both teams are much improved from last year, I am going to give up the points and go with Miami. The Hurricanes have too much talent and athleticism for the Owls. Expect the 'Canes to dominate the paint. Despite their disappointing showing against Louisville, the Hurricanes can take solace that they played much better in the second half. Miami outscored Louisville 48-42 over the final 20 minutes of the game as the Hurricanes shot 51.4% ((18-for-35) from the field and 50% (8-for-16) from the 3-point line. The Canes also grabbed six offensive rebounds and committed just one turnover and forced seven. Plus, Miami has done an excellent job of protecting the ball against Louisville and Flagler (exhibition). FAU, which turned the ball over 20 times against Flagler, got 26 of its points off turnovers on Tuesday. Additionally, the Owls are careless with the ball and are not a good 3-point shooting team.
Prediction: Miami +10.5
Full-Game Total Pick
I believe that Miami will push the pace and run, so I expect the Hurricanes to put up a bunch of points. With the Hurricanes trying to work in new players, their defense has a lot to be desired. Still, I think that Miami will be better on Friday and with the Hurricanes' quickness and length that could spell trouble for the Owls. FAU has committed 34 turnovers this year, which has turned into 39 points for its opponents. Both teams have played Flagler College this year, with Miami earning an 85-65 exhibition victory over them, and there have been a combined 323 points in those two games.
The over is 5-0 in the Hurricanes last five home games. The over has also hit in four of the previous five games following a straight up win by the Owls.
Prediction: Over 141