Back in its heyday, this was a big game. Charlie Coles matched wits with Pete Gillen or Skip Prosser in a matchup of two of the biggest mid-majors in the area. James Posey, Lenny Brown, and Gary Lumpkin took on Wally Sczerbiak until teams with Nate VanderSluis came to the fore. That’s all long part of the past now, though. Xavier is national power ensconced in the Big East. Miami (Oh) hasn’t been to the NCAA tournament since 2007 and finished last year at 194th in the KenPom, their best placing in six years.
Despite the fact that Miami (Oh) is hardly the program it used to be, God rest Charlie Coles, this game will be on Fox Sports One live from the Cintas. Not a focal point of the season, this is the start of something of a three game breather before the Shootout.
Darrian Ringo is either playing for Miami this year or he isn’t. While I recognize the same can be said of everyone (I’m not suiting up, for the record), Ringo’s status went back and forth all off season. Right now, the Redhawks list him on the team. Assuming that’s his final decision, and stay tuned, Miami returns a guy who set their single season assist record, recorded a 42% assist rate, and went for 9.6/3.5/6.9.
Rod Mills graduated, an honor almost certainly not bestowed on him due to his basketball prowess. The 6-7 senior should be rather easily replaced. Logan McLane was an interior defensive specialist who could go and get it on the glass. The good news is that Miami doesn’t seem to have lost anyone else this summer. The bad news is that the Redhawks were something akin to steamed garbage last year so returning that entire team isn’t exactly a boon.
Darrian Ringo heads this list if he suits up all year. He grew a beard over the summer, so who knows.
Nike Sibande, SO, 6-3, G (15.1/4.3/1.2, .414/.350/.733)
Dalonte Brown, SO, 6-7, F (8.0/5.40.3, .432/.346/.603)
Jalen Adaway, SO, 6-5, G/F (8.5/5.0/0.9, .488/.261/.703)
Bam Bowman, JR, 6-8, F (6.2/3.5/0.3, .447/.288/.769)
Miami returns some talent, but none of the above listed had an offensive efficiency in triple digits. Sibande can really score and will challenge most defenses that he comes up against. He was Miami’s only double digit scorer last year.
Miami adds three freshman and a redshirt this season. The redshirt, Milos Jovic, started six games as a freshman and averaged 2.9 points. The best of the freshman is probably Elijah McNamara, a 6-9 forward from Pickerington. McNamara has the size and frame to compete around the rim already. Myja White is more of a standard point guard who was honorable mention all-state in Indiana last year. Finally, there’s 5-8 guard Mekhi Larry, who spent his high school years getting buckets like it was his job. Larry averaged 26.4 per game as a senior and, again, is only 5-8. If you aren’t pulling for this guy to drop like 50 on Kent State, I don’t know who you are as a person.
Miami isn’t the program they used to be. Jack Owens may have them slowly pulling out of their hole, but it was a sizable hole. The Redhawks shouldn’t challenge Xavier any more. What used to be a rivalry should now be more of a hammer and nail situation.