For the ACC tournament, we decided to do the preview a little differently. The following is an email conversation that took place between me and Juan at the conclusion of the Boston College – Georgia Tech game from earlier today.
IK: So. Boston College. I’m unsure how I feel about this.
JT: Well they played us tough in the first matchup, but then they came to Coral Gables and got crushed. Today, Olivier Hanlan went off for 38 or 40 points (can’t remember). What do you think he’ll do against the Canes tomorrow on a back to back?
IK: It was actually 41 points, but the point remains the same. That’s ridiculous. I’m actually a bit worried, because since the turn around is so quick, he could easily stay hot and we’ve seen in march throughout the years, the team (or player) that gets hot often has the upper hand. Miami hasn’t looked that sharp in recent weeks, and if Hanlan stays hot, the Canes could be in trouble.
JT: The plus side for the Canes is that we saw what Larkin and Scott can do to a talented guard on the defensive end, as they shut down Jordan Roper after he got off to a hot start in the last game against Clemson. I think Durand has a chip on his shoulder despite winning ACC defensive player of the year because he wasn’t named to any All-ACC team.
IK: That’s definitely true. Larkin and Scott’s ability to play defense one on one is one of Miami’s biggest strengths, and we’ve seen it against Roper as you said as well as Seth Curry of Duke.
The thing about this BC team is that they seem to be boom or bust. Miami has the advantage in terms of talent, but BC has shown that they can compete with Miami and Duke already this season.
JT: I agree with you. Usually in tournaments like these, playing on a back to back is a disadvantage for teams, but I don’t think this affects such a young team like BC. The one thing Miami has going for them is that it’s truly a neutral site and most of the time in games played in such sites the team with the most talent wins.
IK: I think the location becomes a bit of a concern if/when we play any of the North Carolina teams, as those teams travel well and the game is a short drive from their campus.
This game feels like the one where Miami needs to get Reggie Johnson rolling. BC doesn’t have much size, and in theory, Reggie should have success. The Canes can’t wait much longer with him.
JT: Yeah, Big Reg is going to have to have more than 4 points like he did last time against BC and how he’s played the last months.
I don’t know how Larranaga is going to play it, but I would start Gamble at Center instead of Reggie and then try and get Reggie established off the bench. Although the team really needs him to contribute, the rest of team needs to set the tempo and then integrate Reggie in to the game.
IK: Agreed, I don’t want to put this all on Reggie, because it’s not his fault, but the team played better when Gamble was in the starting lineup.
JT: Definitely. I think the team can beat BC without Reggie having to score, but he has to be close to the same presence Gamble is on defense and on the glass. What kind of tempo do the Canes have to play?
IK: BC and Miami both play similar tempos in that they both don’t run too often, but they also both aren’t as slow as a team like Virginia. I’d like to see the Canes get out and run more in this one, but then again, I’d like to see that more in general.
JT: I think with the BC guards being shooters, the Canes need to capitalize on long rebounds and have Larkin out on the break. The key for the Canes offense will be how Larkin attacks the double team off the high screen. If BC doesn’t help off the score, well, this could be a long day for the Eagles.
IK: Agreed 100%. I think that having almost a week between games is really going to do this Miami team a lot of good, and I ultimately see them taking this one by a score of 67-56. How about you?
JT: I have the game a little more high scoring because I think both teams want to attack the other team and not let them set up on D. I have the Canes winning 75-63.