|No. 25 Miami braces for pressing N.C. State|
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Miami coach Jim Larranaga said he sees the style of opponents changing from game to game, sometimes in dramatic fashion.
So it's up to the No. 25 Hurricanes to make the necessary adjustments, something he said is vital to playing with more consistency.
"Players have to make that transformation," Larranaga said. "We're trying to make it as simple as possible."
The Hurricanes take on North Carolina State and its full-court pressing defense Sunday afternoon at PNC Arena.
Since the Hurricanes were unable to hold a double-digit lead in Monday night's home loss to Duke, Larranaga said he gathered a few of the team leaders to address the variations from game to game.
"And the extreme differences in performances," the coach said. "They're kind of confused by it as well. ... There's a dramatic difference. We're trying to simplify what we're doing offensively so maybe we can get a little bit more consistency."
Miami (13-4, 2-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) has lost three of its past four games.
N.C. State (13-6, 3-3), which is 3-0 in ACC home games after already conquering nationally ranked Duke and Clemson, has received clutch performances from sophomore center Omer Yurtseven in its victories.
Yurtseven, a sophomore center who entered the month without a 20-point outing in his career, has averaged more than 20 points in three ACC home games.
"The way people have played ball screens, we have been able to give him some open shots," N.C. State coach Kevin Keatts said. "He has really made them pay for it. He's starting to believe in himself and scoring around the basket."
Larranaga said Dewan Huell will begin with the defensive assignment on Yurtseven.
The Wolfpack have more versatility now that sophomore guard Markell Johnson has returned from a suspension. Johnson has played two games across the past week.
"I'm back," Johnson said. "I feel a lot better. I'm back."
Yurtseven said Johnson's impact can be seen on the defensive end of the court.
"He's locking guards up -- that's what I've seen," Yurtseven said. "He's going 100 percent every play, every defensive and offensive play."
Miami has plenty of offensive options, putting four or more players in double-figure scoring in eight games this season.
The Hurricanes need to recover from the impact of Duke's game-ending 30-9 run that resulted in the 83-75 outcome. That's not easy, with Larranaga recognizing that.
"Trying to mentally recover so I'm no longer thinking about jumping off a cliff," he said jokingly a few days later.
Miami freshman guard Chris Lykes played a career-high 27 minutes in the Duke game and he could become more of a factor.
"They all say, Chris needs to shoot 3s," Larranaga said of the guard's teammates.
The Hurricanes, though, seem to be more concerned with upgrading their defense.
"Offense is not the problem," Lykes said. "I think we just have to do a better job being consistent on defense."
N.C. State has put up some notable point totals this season, including torching Duke 96-85.
"We know we've got our hands full," Larranaga said. "It's a real challenge for us."
Miami won both meetings against the Wolfpack last season.