Miami-Florida Hurricanes vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish Pick & Prediction DECEMBER 2nd 2023

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Eighth-ranked Miami heads home on a redemption mission following a 22-point loss to Kentucky.

The Hurricanes are back in action Saturday against visiting Notre Dame in Coral Gables, Fla., where Miami (5-1) and the Fighting Irish (3-3) kick off their Atlantic Coast Conference slate.

Miami coach Jim Larranaga continues chasing the goal of rediscovering the formula used to reach the Final Four last season, and admits Tuesday’s 95-73 setback to Kentucky wasn’t a good enough defensive effort.

“Give credit to Kentucky — they were explosive,” Larranaga said. “We just couldn’t guard them. We played totally out of character on offense, and that impacted our defense.”

Notre Dame lost its ACC/SEC Challenge matchup, 63-53 at South Carolina.

The Irish have losses to Auburn and West Carolina.

Their best win to date was 66-64 overtime victory over Oklahoma State on Nov. 17. That was in New York City as part of the Legends Classic.

Markus Burton, a freshman point guard, led Notre Dame with 20 points in the win over Oklahoma State. Burton also had six of Notre Dame’s 11 points in overtime.

Burton leads all ACC freshmen in scoring (16.3), and he ranks fifth nationally among rookies. He also leads the Irish in assists (3.2) and in a negative statistic: turnovers (3.7).

New coach Micah Shrewsberry, hired in March after previously running the Penn State program, said he is looking for a go-to scorer, and perhaps that’s Burton. After all, he’s Notre Dame’s only scorer averaging double figures this season.

“Who’s the guy we can turn to when times get tough,” Shrewsberry said.

Burton is joined in the starting backcourt by J.R. Konieczny and Julian Roper II, who are both averaging 8.5 points. Roper leads Notre Dame in rebounds (5.3).

Up front, the Irish start Tae Davis (8.7 ppg) and 6-foot-10, 255-pound Kebba Njie (4.5).

Wooga Poplar leads Miami in scoring (18.2) and 3-point shooting (55.9 percent).

Norchad Omier tops the Hurricanes in rebounds (8.7), and he ranks second in scoring (16.5).

Miami’s three other starters are all averaging double figures in points: Matthew Cleveland (14.8); Nijel Pack (13.7); and Bensley Joseph (10.3).

Cleveland, a Florida State transfer, is a “glue” guy who keeps the team together by doing whatever is needed, including rebounding (4.3) and assists (2.0). He is making 63.0 percent from the field and 53.3 percent from deep.

Pack leads the squad in assists (3.8), and Joseph is a fierce defender who tops the squad in steals (2.3).

The Hurricanes-Irish series is deadlocked in almost every way. Each team has won 13 times overall, and it’s 6-6 on the road, 6-6 at home and 1-1 on a neutral court.

However, the Irish are 7-6 against Miami since joining the ACC. And Miami beat host Notre Dame in their most recent game, which was last season.

Shrewsberry said he thinks this road trip to Florida will be good for his team.

“Going to Miami is going to make us tough,” Shrewsberry said. “You will hate to see us on your schedule toward the end of the season.”

a–Field Level Media

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