Jim Larranaga says defense, rebounding stand out about Houston

On3 imageby:Nick Kosko03/23/23

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Miami has quite the challenge against Houston’s defense in the Sweet 16, according to Hurricanes head coach Jim Larranaga.

The defense and rebounding ability are what stood out to Larranaga ahead of the biggest game of the year, so far. Houston must be really good at both considering the Miami coach was asked to name one thing the Cougars did so well.

Larranaga and the Hurricanes definitely need their best effort Friday against a top team in the country.

“I’d say their defense and their rebounding,” Larranaga said. “Is that two things? Okay. It’s a combination of those two things. First of all, at the defensive end of the floor, they’re as physical as any team that I’ve seen all year long. They put so much pressure on you at every position. Some teams are good putting pressure on the guards, but these guys put pressure at every position.

“Then they rebound the ball tremendously well at both ends, especially at the offensive end, where they’re able to, if they miss a shot, just offensive rebound and score either at the rim or kick it out for a three. They’ve got great guard play, and they’ve got really terrific, athletic big guys. So they’ve earned their ranking of Number 1 in the country.”

Miami earned its way to the Sweet 16 once again. It’s the fourth time the Hurricanes made this round in the last 10 tournaments.

“It says we’re in very good company because only 16 teams have been able to do that in the last ten years, and all them are the names that, if you had to guess, those are the ones you would guess,” Larranaga said. “I think, if you didn’t know that we were one of the 16 teams to make a run to the Sweet 16 four out of the last ten years, you would not have guessed us until maybe you got to guess 100.

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“Everybody has looked at the University of Miami as a football program, as a football school, and there’s a good reason for that. Our football program has won five National Championships. And even those who follow baseball know we’ve won four National Championships in baseball. But our basketball program has really been elevated over the last 12 years. My staff has done a fantastic job of recruiting quality young men who play quality basketball, and they’re all graduating. So we’re very, very pleased with the company we’re keeping.”