Miami at a Glance
Record: (27-7; 13-5 in ACC, T-2nd)
How They Got Here: Defeated Buffalo and Wichita State in the Round of 64 and 32 in games played in Providence, Rhode Island. The Hurricanes dispatched a hard-fought effort by the Bulls and then took it to Ron Baker, Fred VanVleet and the Shockers. Despite a late rally by Gregg Marshall's club, the 'Canes persevered and made the Sweet 16 for the second time in four seasons.
Players to Watch
Sheldon McClellan has had a terrific career at Miami ever since he transferred from The University of Texas after the 2012-13 season. After sitting out the 2013-14 campaign, McClellan took the floor in South Florida and immediately started making an impact. Then a junior, the Houston, Texas native instantly became one of the most productive players in the ACC and one of its most efficient as well.
His last hurrah has arguably been his best season yet. The Bellaire High School native has posted career highs in points per game, FT%, 3 PT FG%, 2PT FG%, FG%, and steals per game. Moreover, McClellan's numbers per 40 minutes and per 100 possessions are only rivaled by the ones he had back in the 2012-13 season when he was still donning burnt orange and white as a Longhorn. It's entirely fair to say that 'producitve' may be an understatement when describing the H-Town native.
Like Villanova, Miami's strengths can be found in the back court and Sheldon McClellan alongside his teammate have been the anchor for this 'Canes team that finished tied for second in the loaded ACC this past season.
If you're a fan of college basketball, chances are you've heard the name of Angel Rodriguez before. That's because it seems like Rodriguez, a former Kansas State Wildcat, has been hooping forever on the college circuit. It certainly feels that way, as Rodriguez, like McClellan, has been a college hooper since the 2011-12 season. Just like McClellan, Rodriguez decided to transfer from his Big XII residence in the aftermath of the 2012-13 season.
After leaving Manhattan, Kansas for Miami, Florida -- that's quite the come up, folks, no disrespect to the people of 'The Little Apple' -- the San Juan, Puerto Rico native quickly became one of the effective point guards in the conference. Through conference play in the 2014-15 campaign, Rodriguez ranked second in assist rate, second in steal percentage, and 15th in free throw percentage, as well.
One area that was in need of growth for Rodriguez heading into his final year of eligibility was in the shooting department. That's why you can only marvel at the leaps that he's made across the board. He's posted career highs in 2-point field goal (.555) and free throw percentage (.800) and while his 33.1 percent mark from the perimeter is a bit of an eyesore, it ranks second to his 34.4 percent mark in 2012-13 while he was still a Wildcat.
Shooting might not be Rodriguez's game but he was a terrific point guard especially so this year when he led the ACC during conference play in assist rate (30.3) and was third in steal percentage (3.0). He'll be someone Villanova will have to account for on both ends whether it's trying to pick 'Nova's pockets or trying to get to the cup.
What Miami does well
~ Offensive efficiency
~ 3-point shooting
~ Free throw shooting
~ Taking good care of the basketball
~ Getting to the free throw line
What Miami struggles with
~ Doesn't force many turnovers
~ Doesn't play fast. Tempo is low, per KenPom.
~ Rebounding is merely average on both ends.
Stay tuned for more coverage of Villanova-Miami as the matchup approaches later this week.