Despite a 16-18 record overall and a 8-10 MAC record, Jack Owen’s first season at the helm of the Miami RedHawks was somewhat successful as the team showed some promise and looked like it belonged in the top half of the league at times. The ‘Hawks earned some big wins in 2017-18 as they knocked off Kent State, Akron (twice), Buffalo, and downed Ohio 68-55 in the first round of the MAC Tournament. Miami failed to sustain that momentum as they fell to Toledo 71-69 in the next round and were bounced out of the CBI Tournament in an opening round, 97-87 loss to Campbell.
Nike Sibande was a large reason for Miami’s success last season as he was named MAC Freshman of the Year in addition to being on the All-Freshman team and an All-MAC Honorable Mention. He led the team with 15.1 points per game and 39 steals while putting up 4.3 rebounds per game. Also returning into the fray is Darrian Ringo as he earned Third Team All-MAC honors in his first season in Oxford as he broke the school’s all-time assist record with 236 to go with his 9.6 points per game.
Other key returners include Jalen Adaway (8.5 points per game, 5.0 rebounds per game), Dalonte Brown (MAC All-Freshman Team, 8.0 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 22 blocks), along with rotational players Bam Bowman and Isaiah Coleman-Lands.
The ‘Hawks have a few notable non-conference games in 2018-19, starting with the opening game of the season at Butler. There are some big mid-majors in The Island of the Bahamas Showcase with defending Big Sky champion Montana, Towson, and Georgia State. A meeting with Xavier on November 28 will be broadcast on FS1 and will be a good test for Miami. As far as MAC scheduling goes, the Red and White have to play Toledo and Ball State twice, which can pose interesting challenges. The team has a few stretches that will likely define their season with games at Buffalo, at Toledo, and home versus Akron in mid-January, home against UT, at EMU, at Kent State, and home against Ohio in early February, and then finish the season with Buffalo and KSU at home prior to the season finale against the Bobcats in Athens.
The rebuild in Oxford is moving at a nice pace but this year has some potential for the RedHawks. The team has a young nucleus that can keep it competitive in most games and they are capable of making some noise in the MAC based on what it did last year. However, the schedule will be challenging to navigate for such a young team so it’ll be interesting to see how it’ll respond to the challenge. A winning record in MAC play is an achievable goal this season and RedHawks fans have to feel good about the team’s chances, which has been a long time coming.