This season’s Miami Hurricanes mens basketball team is about to accomplish something that no Hurricanes hoops team has ever accomplished before.
They’re going to win the ACC regular season title outright.
The last time the Canes even came close to a regular season conference championship was the 1999-2000 season, when the Canes finished tied for 1st in the Big East, with a roster that included current NBA players James Jones and John Salmons. When Duke lost to Virginia last week, it guaranteed Miami at least a share of the conference crown, and with a win in either of their final two games, the Canes will win the conference outright.
The Canes are fortunate to play their final two games of the season, against Georgia Tech and Clemson, at the Bank United Center, where they sport a record of 13-0 and have beaten the likes of Duke and North Carolina. In addition to being undefeated at home, Miami already holds wins over the Yellow Jackets and Tigers on the road this season, so winning at least one of the two rematches should be easily accomplished.
The last time Miami played Georgia Tech, it was an ugly basketball game to say the least. Canes players not named Rion Brown finished the game 13-42 (30.9%) from the field and 3-13 (23%) from beyond the arc to account for 40 points. Brown, on the other hand, had the game of his career, going 9-11 from the floor, 4-6 from deep, and scored 22 points in a return to his home state of Georgia. Fortunately for UM, Georgia Tech shot only 31.7% from the floor and 27.8% from three point land to finish with a mere 49 points.
Georgia Tech Scouting Report
The Yellow Jackets are completely out of the NCAA tournament picture and probably won’t be seeing any action in the NIT or CBI, either. For them, this game is about getting their freshman (they play three freshman for at least 23 minutes a night) some valuable game action against a superior opponent on the road.
Georgia Tech is an offensively challenged team to say the least. They only have two players who average in double figures, neither of whom average over 11 points a game: Marcus Georges-Hunt averages 10.5 points per game, and Robert Carter averages exactly 10 points a night. As a team, they average a mere 63.8 points per game and a putrid 0.96 points per possession, which ranks them second to last and last in the ACC, respectively.
Defensively, Georgia Tech is very very good – they rank 25th in the nation in points per possession, at 0.91. The last time these two teams played, Miami scored 62 points, and Georgia Tech allows 61 on average per game. That’s the good news. The bad news is that they still lost by 13, and Miami got a combined 9 points out of Shane Larkin and Durand Scott, which we aren’t expecting to happen again.
Key for the Canes
Play big. This Georgia Tech team is one that really lacks size – they don’t have a single player over 7’0" tall, and only one player above 6’8", according to ESPN’s roster for them. Meanwhile, Miami has 5 players that stand at least 6’10", all of whom see significant playing time. The Canes outrebounded the Yellow Jackets by 12 the last time around, and I’d expect more of the same this time.
I’ll be at the game for only the second time this season, so that’s pretty exciting. Since Miami is 1-0 in games I’ve attended with an average margin of victory of 26, I’m expecting more of the same this time around. While Georgia Tech is very good defensively, they simply can’t score with Miami, and unfortunately, that’s going to be their downfall. Final score: Miami 71-51.