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Previewing UM-SU with TNIAAM as Canes look to Bounce Back against Cuse

Miami returns to action Saturday on CBS against the undefeated Cuse. After falling to Duke, they face an even stiffer challenge against the Nation's #2 team.

Rich Barnes

“In case you never get a second chance: don't be afraid!" "And what if you do get a second chance?" "You take it!” ― C. JoyBell C.

Miami blew an opportunity to grab the ACC spot light Wednesday night in front of Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, and Kobe Bryant Vs Duke.

But the beauty of playing in such a power conference is, you never have to wait too long to get another shot. UM hosts Syracuse Saturday afternoon hoping for a big time win.

Helping us preview the 'Canes battle with the Orange is Sean Keeley with the creatively named Syracuse blog, Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician. We even ask about the name, see below:

SOTU: On Monday's ACC Coaches Teleconference, Coach Boeheim said the Miami was playing the best defense in the conference. Is Coach usually very generous in his praise?  Or should Miami fans take solace in the fact that maybe one facet of their game will allow them to compete with the top teams in the ACC?

TNIAAM: Boeheim can be a troll (even when he's not trying to) but he's not really one to hand out praise where it's not warranted. He's the first person to say when Syracuse stinks and he's the first person to say when someone's doing well. So if he thinks Miami is playing good defense, you better believe they are. We don't see too many teams playing zone and the kind of slow down defense Miami employs and, judging by the last game against you guys, it's effective.

SOTU: Miami caught a break in the first game, with Trevor Cooney going ice cold (2-12) from the floor. Will the 'Canes get that lucky again, or has The Orange's best shooter re-found his stroke?

TNIAAM: Good question because ever since ACC play started, Cooney has been in a serious slump. He was shooting out of his mind in November & December (50%) but he's 11-of-45 in conference play. One of these days he's going to snap out of it, he's just too good of a shooter not to, but I can't really predict when it's gonna happen. I'd prefer now, but I'm sure you wouldn't.

SOTU: How in the world does Syracuse keep pulling out these close games?

TNIAAM: It's funny, this kind of thing isn't new for Orange fans. While Syracuse has been very good for a while now, we've also been used to a lot of close finishes. For a long time, Syracuse was the kind of program that loses the close game. And then the recruiting picked up, that talent improved and the defense got better. Now, there's always a guy ready to step up and make a play. If one star is slumping, another one steps up. It also doesn't hurt that SU's defense over the last couple seasons is about as good as we've ever seen it. All of these things show up as the difference between winning and losing in tight finishes.

SOTU: Can the Cuse overcome the season ending injury to DeJuan Coleman and make it to the promised land?

TNIAAM: The good news for Syracuse, and not-great news for DaJuan is that he wasn't exactly a key cog in the machine this season. Coleman was the annual starting big man who saw limited minutes and got pulled early for a "sixth starter," this year being Jerami Grant. He's still developing as a college big man and, hopefully, he'll come back next year even stronger. If anything, we'll miss him for when Rakeem Christmas and Baye Keita get in foul trouble. We know that game is coming and we're worried about what Boeheim will do when it happens.

SOTU: How good a player is Tyler Ennis?  Where does he rank among the best PGs the program has seen and where does his season rank among the best freshman campaigns at the Cuse?

TNIAAM: Statistically, he's the best point guard Syracuse has had in years, possibly decades. That's kinda crazy when you factor in who has played point for the Orange (Michael Carter-Williams, Jonny Flynn, Jason Hart, etc). He has an uncanny ability to be whatever SU needs him to be that night. He can be the kind of guard that doesn't score but makes sure everyone else does. He can be the kind of guard that takes over a game himself. And he can be a lot of things in between. We're really, really hoping he stays another year.

In terms of freshman campaigns, he's on pace for the best season ever. In terms of overall campaigns…well, he's up there.

SOTU: Where did you come up with the name for the blog, "Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician?"

TNIAAM: It's probably just easiest if I point you towards the very first post in site history, which explains where the quote was first said. And then to prove I didn't just make it up, some time later someone found the footage.

SOTU: How does the game play out and who wins?

TNIAAM: I'll be honest with you, I will not be surprised if Syracuse lost this game. We're due to drop one sooner or later and Miami has some knowledge to lean on from the first game. I'm guessing the crowd will be fired up and any conference road game is a tough game, but, of course I'm going to err on side of Tyler Ennis and say the Orange will pull this one out, barely, 53-51.

Thanks again to Sean for working with us.  Be sure to check out the Canes Vs Cuse tomorrow at 1PM.