Miami Hoops Takes On Xavier in Local Matchup

Miami's new staff has shown a dedication to competing for the Cincinnati area's best basketball preps. They recently accepted the signings of 2014 Cincinnati standouts Roderick Mills (St. Xavier) and Zach McCormick (Turpin). Tonight, the RedHawks head an hour south to Cincinnati to try to make another statement in Southwest Ohio.

When tonight's rivalry game tips off for Miami (0-2) and Xavier (2-0), there won't be too many people in the Cintas Center that think the RedHawks will end the night as victors. Thankfully for Coach John Cooper and the RedHawks, they've already won their biggest matches in Cincinnati after picking up the signings of two of the area's best young talents.

Zach McCormick, a combo guard from Turpin averaged over 23 points per game last fall and ended up selecting the Red and White over offers from Ohio University and the University of Tennessee. McCormick, a do-it-all ballhandler and scorer shined on the AAU summer circuit and looks poised to help Miami next fall. On the wing, Miami secured St. Xavier's Roderick Mills over the interest of a dozen competing midmajors. At 6'8, Mills is a great utility player that can shoot, handle the ball and rebound better than any recent Miami recruit with his size. After the graduation of eight seniors at St. X last year, look for his stat sheet to explode this winter.

On the court tonight, Cooper will have his hands full. First off, he is without two likely starters as Bill Edwards recovers from a knee injury and transfer Willie Moore serves a suspension. His team's uptempo defense will do well to disrupt the Musketeers' early season kinks, but Xavier has shown a propensity to grind down opponents that lack depth. For Miami to ride back to Oxford with a victory tonight, it will take a solid team defensive effort and an offensive explosion from Blake McLimans or Will Felder. Also look for Miami's freshmen, both Australian, to mature as they rebound from last week's loss at Arizona State.

And even if tonight ends poorly for Miami fans, there is reason for optimism: Edwards and Moore will be back for MAC conference games and the talented Cincinnati duo will be suiting up in less than a year.

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