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Miami Basketball takes aim at NIT Semifinals Tonight Vs Richmond

Michael Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports

UM has never made it past the quarterfinals in 10 previous NIT appearances.

Jim Larranaga has never coached a game at Madison Square Garden.

With a win tonight over the Richmond Spiders, the 'Canes can take care of both of those anomalies in one shot.

But it won't be easy.

The Spiders will be the home team, playing in front of what should be a boisterous environment at the Robbins Centers.

And they too felt slighted on Selection Sunday, finding themselves on the outside looking in just like Miami , despite a solid resume that included  2 wins over VCU.

So there is plenty for both teams to play for.

Richmond is also not the easiest team to prepare for.

On offense they feature a faster paced Princeton style attack.  It's led by their Lilliputian PG Kendall Anthony. Despite being just 5'8, the lightning quick, sharp shooting senior put up 16.3 ppg this year and shot just under 40% from distance.

Anthony's protege appears to be 5'10 spark plug ShawnDre' Jones, a sophomore who puts up over 10 ppg and 2.5 apg.

But the little guards are not the only headache the Spiders can give an opponent.

6'8 Terry Allen,  and 6'9 T.J. Cline, both do just enough in the paint and in the post, to keep teams honest.

Look for lots of sharp cuts and ball movement from the Spiders tonight.

The key for the 'Canes could be winning the battle on the boards.

Richmond has no one who can match-up with UM 7 footer Tonye Jekiri.

And depending on what line-ups/rotation Coach L decides to use, Miami should also have the size advantage at the guard spots.

Arizona State collected 15 offensive boards, and out rebounded the Spiders 46-30 overall in Sunday's 76-60 OT loss at the hands of the Spiders.

If the Hurricanes can muster anywhere near that kind of advantage on the glass, and take care of the basketball, they should win tonight.

Manu Lecomte, who has been very prolific of late filling in for injured starting PG Angel Rodriguez (not expected to play tonight), must find the cracks in Richmond's match-up zone.  He also needs to keep wings Davon Reed and Sheldon McClellan (just 2 points in Saturday's win over Alabama) involved.

The 'Canes have struggled at times this season Vs zones.

With a trip to NYC on the line, tonight would be the ideal time to solve one.

Their season continuing depends on it.

Game Info:

Miami Hurricanes at Richmond Spiders

When: March 24, 2015 | Time 7 p.m.

Where: Robins Center  |  Richmond, Virginia

Radio

WQAM 560

TV

ESPN

Online

ESPN3

Live Stats

HurricaneSports.com