On the fifth to last day of the college basketball season, Miami and Texas kept their seasons alive, winning their Sweet 16 matchups and advancing to the Elite 8.
Both teams dominated on both sides of the ball and saw their stars come to play. The regular season ACC Champ and the Big 12 Tournament Champ both proved they can cut down the nets in two weeks, with Miami beating Houston 89-75 and Texas defeating Xavier 79-66. Here is one takeaway from each game.
Takeaway #1: Miami completely controls the style of play battle
Miami loves to play an up-tempo offense and get as many possessions as possible. Houston likes to slow the game down and limit their opponent to as few possessions as possible. From the jump, Miami was able to keep this game high paced and this led to a ton of opportunities and made Houston uncomfortable all game. Houston was a top 5 defense all year, so the fact Miami was able to score 89 proves how in charge of this game the offense was.
Houston allowed 71 points twice this season, the most they allowed. Miami almost scoring 20 more points than that proves how dangerous they are, and Nijel Pack and Isaiah Wong are big reasons why.
Texas and Miami have nearly equal tempos, with Texas being ranked 100 and Miami 99. This will give Miami the best chance to win, and if their guards are making their shots, the Final 4 is within reach.
Takeaway #2: Texas’ defense shines again
The last time Texas played in Kansas City, they won the Big 12 tournament. The two key reasons were Dylan Disu and their defense. Disu was unable to repeat his performance, getting hurt early and not returning, but the defense certainly delivered, holding Xavier to under 40% from the field for most of the game, and, if you take away Adam Kunkel’s 5-6 shooting night, the rest of the team went 2-11 from three.
Jack Nunge shot 6-19 despite having a significant size difference, and Souley Boum never seemed to get any rhythm. Texas’ ability to shut down star players is what’s gotten them this far, and if they can do that against Isaiah Wong and Nijel Pack on Sunday, then this could get ugly quickly.
Texas and Miami will faceoff on Sunday