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Previewing Potential Miami Hurricanes NCAA Tournament Opponents



Photo Credit: Miami Athletics

Miami’s men’s basketball team is projected to be selected to play in the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive season, with the full bracket set to release on Sunday starting at 6 p.m.

As of Sunday morning, ESPN’s Joe Lunardi and CBS’s Jerry Palm predict that UM will be a No. 5 seed, while The Athletic’s Brian Bennett thinks that Miami will be a No. 6 seed.

Here are five teams that the Hurricanes might play if they end up as either a No. 5 or No. 6 seed.


The Drake Bulldogs are one of the most experienced teams in college basketball, as their starting lineup’s age average is 23.18 years old. This is older than the average starting lineup age of the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder of 22.

Drake, winners of the MVC regular season and tournament championship, has come out on top in 13 of its last 14 games, including a 26-point victory over Bradley in its conference championship game. 

The Bulldogs are led by MVC Player of the Year Tucker DeVries. The second-year guard has averaged 19 points and 5.6 rebounds per game this season. DeVries is a 38.7 percent 3-point shooter, helping lead Drake to its 37.3 percent mark from deep, good for 32nd nationally.

Defensively, Drake also ranks 32nd in the country and third in the MVC in points allowed per game.

Oral Roberts

As a No. 15 seed in the 2021 NCAA Tournament, the Golden Eagles made a cinderella run to the Sweet 16. This season, however, they are unlikely to catch any higher-seeded opponent off-guard.

Oral Roberts is one of the hottest teams in college basketball, winning its last 17 games by an average of 17.5 points. This success has been spearheaded by its sensational offense, which ranks third nationally in points per game this season. The Golden Eagles also have the second-best assist-to-turnover ratio in the country.

Senior guard Max Abmas has led this strong offensive production with 22.2 points and four assists per game this year. Abmas was a difference-maker the last time Oral Roberts made the NCAA Tournament, averaging 26.7 points per game during that three-game run in 2021.


Like VCU teams of years past, the Rams are characterized by their stout defense. VCU allows the 24th-least points per game, off-setting the mediocre season its had offensively.

At 12.6 points per game, guard Anthony Baldwin Jr. leads the Rams in scoring. VCU instead relies on its balanced offensive production, as five players average at least nine points per contest.

In the tournament, VCU will have to do a better job at protecting the ball. The Rams turn the ball over 13.2 times a game, which is 69th-most nationally.


With 31 wins, the most in college basketball, the Cougars are expected to be a tough outing for whichever team it plays in the NCAA Tournament.

Like Oral Roberts, Charleston is prolific offensively, ranking 15th in points per game. And like VCU, the Cougars are also very balanced with five players averaging double-digit points this season.

The Cougars defeated ACC team Virginia Tech, 77-75, earlier this year and lost to then No. 1 North Carolina, 102-86.

Mississippi State

Unlike the other teams previewed, Mississippi State is a power conference team and a more likely opponent for Miami should it be a No. 6 seed instead of a No. 5 seed in the tournament.

The Bulldogs kicked things off with a blistering 11-0 start to the season, but conference play has not been as successful, as they went 8-10 in the SEC and lost seven of its first eight conference games.

Senior forward Tolu Smith, averaging 15.8 points, has been a bright spot on what has otherwise been a lackluster offense. Mississippi State ranks second-to-last in the SEC in points per game and last in the country in 3-point percentage.

The Bulldogs’ strength is their defense, which gives up the eighth-fewest points per game nationally.

Luke’s Look-Ahead:

Here’s how I would rank these teams, in order of most to least difficult matchups for Miami:

  1. Oral Roberts
  2. Charleston
  3. Drake
  4. VCU
  5. Mississippi State



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