2024 North Carolina Sports Network
Atlantic Coast Conference Basketball Spotlight:

By Evan Rogers
North Carolina Sports Network

School: University of Miami

Location: Coral Gables, Fla.

Previous NCAA Conference Affiliations: Independent (1926-71 and 1985-91), Big East Conference (1991-2004)

ACC Member Since: 2004-05

ACC Ranking Among 32 Leagues (KenPom): 7th (2023), 5th (2022), 5th (2021), 4th (2020)

NCAA Tournament Bids: 12 (1960, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2008, 2013, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2022, 2023)

Conference Titles: 1 (2013 in ACC)

Conference 1st-Place Finishes: 3 (2000 in Big East; 2013, 2023 in ACC)

Head Coach: Jim Larrañaga (74 years old, 13th season at Miami)

As A Player: Providence (1968-71)

Record At Miami (Through Jan. 29): 269-155 (.634) in 12+ seasons

Previous Head Coaching Experience: American International (1977-79), Bowling Green (1986-97), George Mason (1997-2011)

College AC Experience: Davidson (1971-76), Virginia (1979-86)

Assistant Under: Bo Brickels, Terry Holland

2022-23 Record: 29-8, 15-5 (t-1st in 15-team ACC)

2023-23 Preseason Prediction (Media): 2nd in 15-team ACC

2023-24 Record (Through Jan. 29): 14-6, 5-4 ACC

2023-24 Midseason Ranking (KenPom): #66 nationally (7th in ACC)

Upcoming Schedule Highlights: at NC State (1/30), Virginia Tech (2/3), at Virginia (2/5), UNC (2/10)

Miami came into this year looking to build upon its first-ever Final Four appearance a season ago.

Under 13th-year head coach Jim Larrañaga, the Hurricanes have often been a serious ACC contender. Larrañaga’s major accomplishments at UM include the 2013 ACC championship, regular-season conference titles in 2013 and 2023, four Sweet 16 trips and, most recently, the two most successful NCAA Tournament appearances in program history — an Elite Eight run in 2022, and the Final Four last year.

“We’ve had success now,” Larrañaga said. “You need to embrace that and help us continue and let it grow. That’s what happened. … Our success to get to the Elite Eight and Final Four didn’t happen overnight; it happened over a decade.”

Although they lost their top two scorers (second-round NBA draft picks Isaiah Wong and Jordan Miller) from last year’s NCAA semifinalist squad, the Hurricanes were able to bring back their other three regular starters.

Point guard Nijel Pack and wing guard Wooga Poplar again lead the way for UM in the backcourt. Pack, a heralded transfer from Kansas State in his second year with the Hurricanes, has seen a slight drop in his shooting splits this season. Poplar is converting a team-best 46.4 percent from 3-point land, while Pack leads the team with 3.8 assists per game.

The Hurricanes remain undersized across the board, with their tallest starter being forward Norchard Omier. Listed at 6-foot-7 and 240 pounds, Omier was a preseason first team All-ACC honoree. He leads Miami in scoring and rebounding, notching 18.1 points and 9.7 rebounds per game so far this season.

“Norchad Omier is the best rebounder in the country,” Larrañaga said. “He goes after every loose ball. … When you have a guy that’s relentless and as good as he is, what you ask yourself is, OK, how do we help him improve at other parts of his game? … He has improved in his 3-point shooting, his ball-handling, and he’s still the best rebounder in the country.”

Miami entered this season ranked #13 in the Associated Press poll, but the Hurricanes fell from the Top 25 by the end of December, after suffering blowout defeats to Kentucky and Colorado.

Much of UM’s struggles have been a byproduct of its short bench. The Hurricanes’ roster has produced just one consistent reserve, true freshman Kyshawn George, who averages 7.7 points per game this year.

George has quickly asserted himself into NBA Draft talks, thanks to his 6-foot-8 frame and impressive skills at the guard position. Beyond George, Miami does not have a bench player averaging more than 3.5 points per game.


2023-24 Miami Hurricanes
(14-6, 5-4 ACC; through Jan. 29)


PG Nijel Pack*, r-Jr. — 34 mpg, 14 ppg, 3 rpg, 43% FG, 78% FT, 39% threes, 69/34 ATO, 6 blocks, 19 steals
(6-0/185); 2022 KSU transfer (2-year starter); Lawrence Central HS; Indianapolis, Ind.

G Bensley Joseph, Jr. — 30 mpg, 8 ppg, 3 rpg, 41% FG, 87% FT, 35% threes, 70/36 ATO, 14 blocks, 37 steals
(6-2/196); 20 mpg, 5 ppg in 2022-23; Putnam (Conn.) Science; Arlington, Mass.

G Wooga Poplar*, Jr. — 30 mpg, 15 ppg, 5 rpg, 49% FG, 85% FT, 46% threes, 41/41 ATO, 7 blocks, 14 steals
(6-5/197); 24 mpg, 8 ppg in 2022-23; Math, Civics and Sciences (Pa.) School; Philadelphia, Pa.

G Matthew Cleveland, Jr. — 32 mpg, 15 ppg, 6 rpg, 53% FG, 78% FT, 38% threes, 37/39 ATO, 9 blocks, 25 steals
(6-7/208); 2023 FSU transfer (starter); 2022 ACC 6th Man of Year; Pace Academy; Atlanta, Ga.

F Norchad Omier*, r-Jr. — 30 mpg, 18 ppg, 10 rpg, 64% FG, 77% FT, 39% threes, 21/45 ATO, 15 blocks, 30 steals
(6-7/240); 2022 Arkansas State transfer (2-year starter); Miami Prep; Bluefields, Nicaragua

Key Reserves

G Kyshawn George, Fr. — 22 mpg, 8 ppg, 3 rpg, 44% FG, 83% FT, 42% threes, 40/31 ATO, 7 blocks, 14 steals
(6-8/205); 20 years old; Lycée Emiland Gauthey (France); Monthey, Switzerland

G Christian Watson, So. — 14 mpg, 3 ppg, 2 rpg, 42% FG, 67% FT, 33% threes, 16/7 ATO, 0 blocks, 2 steals
(6-7/211); minimal PT in 2022-23; St. John’s (D.C.) College HS; Lanham, Md.

F AJ Casey, So. — 11 mpg, 2 ppg, 3 rpg, 41% FG, 53% FT, 0% threes, 6/4 ATO, 6 blocks, 3 steals
(6-9/221); minimal PT in 2022-23; Whitney Young HS; Chicago, Ill.

C Michael Nwoko, Fr. — 9 mpg, 2 ppg, 2 rpg, 48% FG, 67% FT, 0% threes, 2/7 ATO, 4 blocks, 5 steals
(6-10/245); 3-star prep signee; Prolific (Calif.) Prep; Toronto, Canada

*—returning starter (started at least 50% of current team’s games last season)

Miami Hurricanes
10-Year Snapshot

2022-23: 29-8, 15-5 ACC (t-1st), NCAA Final Four (Jim Larrañaga)
2021-22: 26-11, 14-6 ACC (4th), NCAA Elite Eight (Jim Larrañaga)
2020-21: 10-17, 4-15 ACC (13th), no postseason (Jim Larrañaga)
2019-20: 15-16, 7-13 ACC (10th), no postseason (Jim Larrañaga)
2018-19: 14-18, 5-13 ACC (11th), no postseason (Jim Larrañaga)
2017-18: 22-10, 11-7 ACC (3rd), NCAA Round of 64 (Jim Larrañaga)
2016-17: 21-12, 10-8 ACC (7th), NCAA Round of 64 (Jim Larrañaga)
2015-16: 27-8, 13-5 ACC (2nd), NCAA Sweet 16 (Jim Larrañaga)
2014-15: 25-13, 10-8 ACC (6th), NIT Runner-Up (Jim Larrañaga)
2013-14: 17-16, 7-11 ACC (10th), no postseason (Jim Larrañaga)

*—conference champion

NOTE: Please visit the North Carolina Sports Network’s 2023-24 profiles and 10-year snapshots for all 19 Division One men’s basketball programs in North Carolina and all 15 Atlantic Coast Conference programs.

Appalachian State Mountaineers, Sun Belt Conference

Boston College Eagles, Atlantic Coast Conference

Campbell Camels, Coastal Athletic Association

Charlotte 49ers, American Athletic Conference

Davidson Wildcats, Atlantic-10 Conference

Duke Blue Devils, Atlantic Coast Conference

East Carolina Pirates, American Athletic Conference

Elon Phoenix, Coastal Athletic Association

Florida State Seminoles, Atlantic Coast Conference

Gardner-Webb Runnin’Bulldogs, Big South Conference

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Atlantic Coast Conference

High Point Panthers, Big South Conference

Louisville Cardinals, Atlantic Coast Conference

NC Central Eagles, Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference

NC State Wolfpack, Atlantic Coast Conference

North Carolina Tar Heels, Atlantic Coast Conference

North Carolina A&T Aggies, Coastal Athletic Association

Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Atlantic Coast Conference

Pitt Panthers, Atlantic Coast Conference

Queens Royals, Atlantic Sun Conference

Syracuse Orange, Atlantic Coast Conference

UNC Asheville Bulldogs, Big South Conference

UNC Greensboro Spartans, Southern Conference

UNC Wilmington Seahawks, Coastal Athletic Association

Virginia Cavaliers, Atlantic Coast Conference

Virginia Tech Hokies, Atlantic Coast Conference

Wake Forest Demon Deacons, Atlantic Coast Conference

Western Carolina Catamounts, Southern Conference