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#MACsketball Monday: WEATHERING THE STORM

John Cooper’s squad has some nice pieces, but it’s already starting to look like another lost season for Miami.

NCAA Basketball: Florida Atlantic at Miami (OH) Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami RedHawks lost their sixth game of the season Sunday in overtime at UCF, as the offense fell apart after a pretty good first half with a 37.9% shooting percentage in the second half and only two (!!!) made field goals in overtime. The Weathers brothers continued to be big contributors for the ‘Hawks as the freshmen accounted for 28 points, five rebounds, and five assists in the game. The strong play from the pair (especially Michael) has been a continuing trend this season, although one can sense the season slipping away from the Red and White ahead of MAC play.

The offense this season has been really stagnant as the team has over 30 more turnovers than assists this season, and has struggled with its consistency behind the arc with a 32.3% shooting percentage from that distance. The charity stripe hasn’t been kind to the RedHawks either as they have only made 68.7% of their attempts from the free throw line while opponents have made 72% of theirs. The defense has kept them in games at certain points (52 blocks, 71 steals) but you can’t expect to win very many games as inefficient as the offense is.

Head coach John Cooper is in dire straits with this young squad, as his contract that he signed upon taking the Miami job in 2012 expires this season. It’s hard to see this team putting together a legitimately successful run in the MAC, but it’s more difficult to see Miami recruiting a coach to Oxford that will turn the program around, since the head job isn’t a good job. Coaches would want to be head of a program that gets strong institutional support, and men’s basketball is clearly a rung below football and hockey at Miami in terms of institutional support and respect. I don’t know what the answer is to bring the program back to life is, but I know that I’m certainly not looking forward to the future.

Miami, now resting near the bottom of the league at 5-6, have a three-game home stand starting on Dec. 22 when it hosts a Tennessee Tech team that lost by double-digits to Central Michigan and Ohio this season. MU rounds out the non-conference slate in a match-up with another Division III school in Olivet College on Dec. 29, before opening conference action with Northern Illinois coming to Millett Hall on Jan. 3. With some momentum and confidence, maybe the young ‘Hawks can string some wins together in league play and somewhat salvage this season.