Big 12 Basketball

Texas vs. Miami Elite 8 Prediction, Preview

Texas guard Tyrese Hunter.

Here is everything you need to know about Texas and Miami (FL) in our Longhorns vs. Hurricanes NCAA Tournament men’s basketball preview.

NCAA Tournament

Midwest Region – Elite Eight

No. 2 Texas (29-8) vs. No. 5 Miami (FL) (28-7)


Game Info: 4:05 p.m. CT, Sunday, CBS, T-Mobile Center, Kansas City, Mo.

NCAA Tournament Results

Texas: def. Colgate, 81-61 (first round); def. Penn State, 71-66 (second round); def. Xavier, 83-71 (Sweet 16). Miami: def. Drake, 63-56 (first round); def. Indiana, 85-69 (second round); def. Houston, 89-75 (Sweet 16).

Winner gets: A trip to the Final Four in Houston  

Projected starting lineups

Texas: G Marcus Carr, G Tyrese Hunter, F Timmy Allen, F Christian Bishop, F Dillon Mitchell.

Miami: G Jordan Miller, G Isaiah Wong, G Nijel Pack, G Wooga Poplar, F Norchad Omier.

Player to watch



G Tyrese Hunter: If Dylan Disu is unable to play on Sunday, Christian Bishop will likely slide into the starting lineup. But Hunter might be the most important player on the floor, and he showed why in the Sweet 16 win over Xavier. After a quiet first half, he exploded in the second half, scoring 19 points and making all three of 3-point attempts. When Hunter is locked in from the arc, he can be one of the hardest players to deal with on this team. If he’s locked in again on Sunday, the Longhorns could be headed to the Final Four.

Hunter is averaging a little more than 10 points per game and he’s not the most consistent 3-point shooter, as he fires about 33 percent from that range. Texas needs the Hunter from Friday night.


G Nijel Pack: Texas fans are familiar with Pack, who earned All-Big 12 First Team honors at Kansas State last season. Pack transferred to Miami and joined a guard-laden lineup that is in the Elite Eight for the second straight season. Pack has had a solid year, averaging 13.4 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists.

But his game against No. 1 seed Houston on Friday was nuts. His head coach, Jim Larranaga, said as much. Pack had 28 points and made seven 3-pointers. Big 12 fans have seen that kind of performance before. Last season he hit eight 3-pointers in a regular-season game against Kansas in which he finished with 35 points.

Key storylines


You know by now the story of Texas this season. In December, former coach Chris Beard was arrested on domestic violence charges and Texas cut ties with him shortly after. Terry, the former Fresno State and UTEP head coach, stepped in as interim coach. All he’s done is guided Texas to a second Big 12 Tournament title in three seasons and, more importantly, the program’s first Sweet 16 appearance since 2008 under Rick Barnes (who just happened to be Terry’s boss at Texas for a decade).

While Disu is the team’s hottest player, Texas has two players that have more than 2,000 career points — guard Marcus Carr and forward Timmy Allen. There is also Big 12 Sixth Man of the Year Sir’Jabari Rice, who is capable of hitting seven 3-pointers off the bench (ask Colgate about that). Texas is also considered one of the best defenses in the country.


Disu’s injury on Friday put Texas in a bit of a corner. But Bishop’s play (16 points) and four other Longhorns in double figures helped pave the way to their first Elite Eight since 2008. Terry was an assistant coach on that team.


The Hurricanes reached the Elite Eight last year. Along the way, the Hurricanes beat Iowa State. But, Kansas took care of them in the Elite Eight and the Jayhawks went on to the national championship. Miami’s season has been all about getting back to at least this moment. Of course, a Big 12 team is waiting for them. January was all about hiccups for the Hurricanes, a win followed by a loss. The team hit its stride in February when it won seven straight, including games over Clemson, Duke and North Carolina.

The guards run the show in Miami. Oddly, Pack isn’t the Hurricanes’ leading scorer, as he was a season ago for Kansas State. Wong sets the pace, averaging 16 points. Miller chips in 15. Omier handles the paint, averaging 13 points and 10 rebounds per game. Poplar averages eight points. The Hurricanes aren’t terribly deep, as only one other player gets more than 20 minutes per game. But they’re explosive.


Texas 77, Miami 75. If you’re counting on a Texas win in this game, you’re counting on the Texas defense. And for the past few weeks, that’s been a reliable bet.      

You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.

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