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Miami Basketball Faces Early Major Test Tonight Vs #7 Florida Gators

Arguably UM's toughest out of conference game this season, will occur tonight in Gainesville.

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Spor

The University of Miami Men's Basketball Team opened the season in style with an 84-49 thrashing of Howard on Friday Night.

Something tells us the second game of the season is going to be a little more competitive.

The 'Canes head into hostile territory tonight when they take on Nationally ranked UF on the road in Gainesville, tonight at 7PM. This is a game that is occurring way too early in the season to draw conclusions, but could nonetheless impact Miami on Selection Sunday.

In a way this is a no lose scenario for UM.

Win and you can file it away as a huge resume/confidence builder.

Lose and hey you were facing one of the best teams in the country on Game 2.

But don't expect Miami and their new and talented roster to not come out swinging in this one.

The season still has a long way to go, but Sheldon McClellan has the look of a star.  McClellan built off of a nice summer tour in Spain and a strong performance in UM's exhibition game with a team high 19 points in his first contest as a 'Cane.

The 6'5 wing scores in a multitude of ways, including a silky jumper, rare athleticism on the break, and drives reminiscent of former Hurricanes star Durand Scott.

McClellan got plenty of help from the two-headed PG duo of Manu Lecomte and Angel Rodriguez, who combined for 30 points, 6 assists, 6-12 shooting from deep, and 6 steals in game 1.

Deandre Burnett is also a player to keep an eye on tonight for Miami.  The 6'2 RS freshman can light it up if he gets hot.

Up front Tonye Jekiri led the way and hauled in 11 rebounds.

Miami will need that same production, if not more, if they hope to knock off the Gators.

Michigan transfer Jon Horford is their most experienced big, but they have a lot of versatile performers, including outstanding 6'4 G Michael Frazier II, PG Kasey Hill,  and Rutgers transfer Eli Carter.

UM may have caught a break in this one as Florida's Dorian Finney-Smith was diagnosed with a hairline fracture in his left, non-shooting hand. Finney-Smith's status for tonight's game against Miami is uncertain.

The 6'8 RS junior led Florida in scoring with 15 points in their season opening 68-45 win over William and Mary.

Florida sophomore forward/center Chris Walker,  the team's best big, will also miss this game serving a three game suspension for violation of team rules.  This is a huge break for the 'Canes, given their own lack of depth inside.

The keys to this game will likely be which team can keep the other off the line, and who limits turnovers more successfully.

On the road against a very talented opponent this will be no easy task for the 'Canes.

But armed with plenty of perimeter firepower and a great coach in Jim Larranaga, Miami could very well pull off the upset.

It should be fun to watch.

Game Info:

UM at No. 7 Florida Monday, for Tip Off Marathon

Nov. 17, 2014 |  7 p.m.
Stephen C. O’Connell Center  | Gainesville, Fla.

560 WQAM | WVUM 90.5
Web: WatchESPN

Stay tuned for more coverage on this contest and all things UM on State of the U.