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Game Preview:Miami Basketball Hosts Duke on Big Monday

Coach K and Co come to what should be a packed BUC in a big ACC battle.

Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Three years ago, #1 rated Duke came into the Bank United Center and faced a fired up 'Canes squad and a raucous home crowd and lost to the eventual conference champs 90-63 in a game for the ages.

Tonight another UM team with high hopes again hosts the Devils hoping to propel themselves toward greatness, with a big time win.

Expect a loud and boisterous student section once again as Miami (15-3, 4-2) takes on Coach K and Duke (15-5, 4-3) at 7 PM on ESPN.

The situation is slightly different this time around.

The Hurricanes ranked #15 (before today) face a 20th ranked Blue Devils team that has lost 3 of 4.

And UM, while equally experienced to the 2012-13 squad, is likely not quite as strong this time around either.

Nonetheless this is an important game considering the hot start of ACC front runner UNC.

The winner will be right there at the top 1/3 of the conference.   The loser will have some work to do to contend.

Coach K's squad is led by freshman sensation Brandon Ingram (17.1 ppg, 42% 3P), a 6'9 do it all forward who can put the ball on the floor, finish with power, make open jumpers, and create for teammates.

There's really no easy way to defend the talented "diaper dandy."

But look for Coach L to give 6'8 Kamari Murphy the first crack at him.  Murphy has the length and quick feet on defense to at least make him work.

However Ingram is not even the top offensive threat for Duke.

6'5 sophomore G Grayson Allen takes those honors to the tune of 20.5 ppg (2nd in the ACC to Cat Barber).

Allen loves to put the ball on the deck, and is near unstoppable going to his right.

Look for Both Davon Reed and Sheldon McClellan to try and slow him down.

The Devils can really light up the scoreboard behind those two, when they get going.

Their problems in the games they've lost have late have been more about getting stops and defensive rebounds.

And given they only really play 6 players, their depth is a huge concern. F Amile Jefferson is still injured and not expected to play tonight.  He's a huge difference maker with intangibles and on D.

For UM to come away victorious, they need to dominate inside to take advantage of Jefferson's absence.

Tonye Jekiri needs one of his better efforts of the season.

And given Duke's propensity to play zone on D, the 'Canes outside shooters need to make open looks.

We're looking at you, Mr. Angel Rodriguez.

McClellan also needs to can his open triples when he gets good looks.

The biggest advantages in this game are the UM experience and depth.

But the sheer talent of the Devils means there is no guarantee tonight.

This should be a fun one.

Prediction:  In the Coach L era, Miami teams have been especially explosive in these type scenarios.  The BUC should be packed and fired up. Rodriguez loves playing this team. McClellan loves the spotlight.  Allen and Ingram will get theirs, but who else comes to play for Duke?  I like the Hurricanes to get the big home W 88-82.