The Miami Hurricanes needed a comeback to get past Texas but will be going to the Final Four, thanks in part to plenty of NIL money.
At the start of the 2022-23 season, the Miami Hurricanes were a team with plenty of expectations, thanks to a pair of massive transfer pickups in Norchad Omier and Nijel Pack. They were two of the top available players in the entire offseason of around 1,500 individuals in the transfer portal.
What made it different was the acknowledgement that at least Pack got paid $400,000 in “NIL” money, thanks to super boaster, John Ruiz. In fact, there were some issues at first in the offseason with star returning guard, Isaiah Wong. There were reports that he was considering entering the portal himself but things worked out and he stayed.
What’s interesting is that during the season, Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim derided Miami as one of the teams that were “bought”. It may have been sour graps since the Orange were struggling but the Hurricanes weren’t doing anything illegal.
After beating Drake, Indiana, and upsetting No. 1 seed Houston, Miami took on the Texas Longhorns, a team that had just as good a backcourt as the Hurricanes. It was close at first, before Texas went on a run to take a 45-37 halftime lead.
But the Hurricanes were able to come back down from double-digits to pull off the 88-81 victory, led by 27 points from Jordan Miller, going a perfect 7-7 from the field. It looked dicey with 15 minutes to go but it was an impressive comeback from them. It’s another Final Four appearance for head coach Jim Larranaga. Pack and Omier were in double figures as well, proving that they were worth the money required.
Miami now goes up against the UConn Huskies in the Final Four, arguably the most dominant team in the entire NCAA Tournament. But after beating the likes of both Houston and Texas, this Hurricane roster won’t be afraid of the Big East program.