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ACC Tournament: Miami vs North Carolina State Preview

Miami takes on North Carolina State in the first ACC Semi-Final game. Last meeting between the two, ended in a Reggie Johnson tip-in to give the 'Canes the win. How will this game end up?


For the Boston College game, Isaac and I decided to give the previews a different twist and have an email conversation to try and preview each game. Well, since the Hurricanes came out on top, we decided to do the Bud Light superstition thing and keep on doing it.

This time, the opponent is NC State.

Isaac Koppel: I must say, I think NC State is a better matchup for us than Virginia.

Juan Toribio: I agree. The only thing that scares me about NC State is that they have a ton of weapons on offense and as we saw today against Boston College, Miami tends to go on long scoring droughts and that could really hurt them. C.J. Leslie is going to be a problem, but I think the second time around, the team will do a better job guarding him.

IK: The good news, at least in terms of scoring droughts, is that NC State isn't exactly a force on defense. Couple that with the fact that Miami has played up to their competition all season and they should be alright.

JT: True. I think the key here is Reggie. He's been the key for the last few games, but I think the team the 'Canes need him the most is against NC State. Last meeting, Reggie established himself as a force on the block and ultimately got the winning tip in. He got off to a good start today before getting into foul trouble, so that's a good sign. But Reggie will have to establish some sort of presence down low against an undersized team.

IK: The key is going to be his energy. Richard Howell is a force on the glass, and somebody is going to need to put a body on him. That's gonna have to be Reggie for long stretches.

JT: What do you think Miami has to do early in the game?

IK: One thing that really stood out to me in NC State's game today was their bench output.

2 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal and 0 field goals. That's it. And all of that was contributed by Tyler Lewis. Because of that, I'd like to see Miami attack early and often. There are no big bodies on that NC State bench, and if Howell or Leslie get in foul trouble, it'll be huge for Miami.

JT: Definitely. The bench play is going to be huge Saturday. Rion Brown played really well today and he's going to have to do that again since Coach L is splitting up the minutes a little differently for the tournament, it seems.

IK: I wonder if we're going to see more Swoope and Jekiri in this one. Seems that we're gonna need to keep NCSU off the glass and those guys do nothing except hustle after rebounds.

JT: I think Jekiri will get around the same amount of minutes as he's been getting all season, but I definitely see Swoope playing some extra minutes, especially if Miami gets into early foul trouble again.

We took a quick pause in our conversation as we admired two potential number one seeds in the NCAA tournament go down. Georgetown and to the delight of many fans around the country, Duke went down again.

IK: How do you think that playing back to back games will impact Miami? And NCSU?

JT: I'm trying to picture how both teams will do in a back-to-back, but I can't quite do it. The good thing with Miami is that Shane Larkin is always ready to play and run up and down with anyone. I think both teams are going to come out hot running on pure adrenaline, but the fatigue factor will catch up with them in the second half.

IK: NC State has to be tired, right? Third game in three days, and they don't go to the bench often. Gonna be something to watch.

JT: That's the huge edge Miami has that it wouldn't have had against Virginia. Playing three games in as many days is no jokes and I don't see NC State keeping up with the Hurricanes as the game gets deeper.

IK: Agreed. The Canes shot 70% in the second half against Boston College, and I think they're going to carry that momentum in to this one. Halftime seemed to be a real wakeup call. my final score is Miami 77-71.

JT: Scott Wood played great for NC State today, but with tired legs and the defense of Scott and Larkin harassing him off the three-point line, he won't have such a big game. Or at least I hope he doesn't. I have Miami winning this one 67-57.