Good morning 'Canes fans.
Lots to get to.....
First some highlights:
Observations from last night:
#1 Tonye Jekiri had just 11 points, but was much more assertive in the post when he got touches. Yes, VT put smaller players on him, leaving the opportunity. But when TJ is a force down low, this team is on another level. Everyone remember how good they looked when Jekiri lit up Jakob Poeltl and Utah for 20 and 12?
#2 Davon Reed had 12 of his own, including the spectacular dunk below and a sick crossover/finish preceeding it. Over his last 5, Reed is averaging over 12 a contest and has double figures in 4 of those games. The junior from Jersey is good enough to be a #2 behind Sheldon McClellan when he brings his "A" game.
#3 Angel Rodriguez had another nice game going 6-10 from the field for 14 points, and at times taking over the game in the second half. He had just 4 assists, but could have had 6 or 7 as several passes he made should have been converted. AR also logged 39 minutes, showing great stamina in the absence of Ja'Quan Newton.
#4 UM had just 8 assists and 13 turnovers for the game. That formula will get them killed this weekend Vs UNC. No team in the country gets out on the break better than the 'Heels. Live ball turnovers absolutely can not happen on Saturday if Miami wants to win.
The game this weekend in Chapel Hill could very well decide the ACC Regular Season Title (yes a game on 2/22 Vs UVA will also play heavily). While the Hurricanes are decidedly better at home (7-0 vs 3-3) than on the road in conference match-ups, there are reasons for hope. Perhaps the biggest factor to me is the fact that Carolina likely won't play much if any zone. Miami has faced a ton of junk defenses of late (including last night Vs VT) as teams have really concentrated on slowing their drive game. In Rodriguez, Reed, Sheldon McClellan, and hopefully Newton, the 'Canes have 4 premier guards who can break down a D off the dribble. In a best case scenario, the game against Duke last season where Angel, Sheldon, and Co went nuts breaking down defenders in Cameron is the blue print for this weekend. Roy Williams bunch is an elite offensive squad, but their D is vulnerable, especially against guards the quality of Miami's.
Another key will be the D of Kamari Murphy Vs Brice Johnson. Johnson is my personal choice for ACC POY, and has been a beast all season. Murphy is good enough to guard anyone, and in Johnson he faces a strong player, but not one who significantly outweighs him. But the OK State transfer is prone to silly/early fouls. Can't happen this weekend.
For those wondering what is going on with Newton, hold tight:
Coach L after the game:
On how long he anticipates Ja’Quan Newton being out…
"I don’t know. I think we’ll know more tomorrow. He’s talked to the doctors, and doctors are just trying to figure it out. I don’t have my medical degree, so you’ll have to wait until we hear from the doctors tomorrow."
Full Presser Below:
We absolutely promise to provide any updates as we learn them.
Much more Miami Basketball Coverage right here on SOTU in the coming days.