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Miami Basketball at UNC: How to Watch/Open Thread

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Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Does it get any more exciting than this?

UM takes on North Carolina (1PM EST CBS) with first place in the ACC on the line (both teams are 10-3 in conference).

NCAAT seeding, ACCT seeding, national respect, and much more can also be gained this afternoon.

The 3 keys to the game for me are:

1) Miami must turn the ball over less than 10 times.

2) UNC can not hit more than 7 threes.

3) The 'Canes need 3 or more players to hit for 15+ in what should be a high scoring game.

Brice Johnson is going to get his for the Heels.   But if role players like Nate Britt and Isiah Hicks go off, it will be trouble.

The Hurricanes need big games from Angel Rodriguez, Sheldon McClellan, and Davon Reed to win.

Look for all three to get to the basket often.

Enjoy the game, 'Canes fans!


Game Notes (Courtesy UM):

The Game

No. 11/10 Miami travels to Chapel Hill to face No. 5/4 North Carolina Saturday, Feb. 20 at 1 p.m., in the battle for sole possession of first place in the ACC.

The Broadcasts

Catch the game on CBS with Ian Eagle and Bill Raftery on the call. Also check out the game on 560 WQAM radio with Joe Zagacki, the Voice of the Hurricanes.

The Coach

Head coach Jim Larrañaga has a 582-387 overall record in his 32nd season as a head coach. He is 112-53 in his fifth season at the University of Miami, with a 51-32 mark in ACC play.

The Polls (as of Feb. 15)

AP: Miami -11, North Carolina - 5

USA TODAY: Miami - 10, North Carolina - 4

KenPom.com: Miami - 13, North Carolina - 9

NCAA RPI: Miami -9, North Carolina - 8

Miami’s 13-consecutive weeks in the polls top the school record of 12 from 2001-02.

UM has been ranked in the AP’s top 15 for 10 weeks this season, tying the school record 1959-60 season, and topping the 2012-13 season.

The Canes are ranked 12-or-better in the AP for the fourth time this season, 11th time under Coach L, 15th time since 1985-86 and 22nd time since 1959-60.

The Weather

Game day temperatures: Coral Gables - 74/64; Chapel Hill, N.C., - 66/44.

The Series

Miami is 6-19 in the all-time series against North Carolina, which dates back to the 1949-50 season. The Canes are 2-8 at home against the Tar Heels, 3-9 on the road and 1-2 at neutral sites. UM is 4-3 under Coach L against UNC. Miami lost the last matchup with North Carolina, falling to the then-No. 15/18 Tar Heels, 73-64, on Feb. 28, 2015 at the BankUnited Center in Coral Gables. Miami won four-straight games against North Carolina in 2013 and 2014.

The Note

Senior guard Sheldon McClellan is the most efficient offensive player in the country among players used in 20 percent of possessions, and 12th overall, according to KenPom.com on Feb. 18. McClellan has posted the eighth-best shooting percentage (51.9%) in the country among guards, and has the top shooting percentage among guards in the ACC, according to stats on NCAA.org on Feb. 18. McClellan’s 2-point shooting percentage is 60.4 percent this season.

Canes Face Four-Straight Top 20 Teams

Miami will face four top 20 teams in the next 12 days, including two top-10 teams within 72 hours. The Canes open the stretch at No. 11/10 North Carolina Saturday then turn around to host No. 7/8 Virginia for ESPN Big Monday. Miami will then play No. 18 Louisville a week from Saturday, and travel to Indiana to play No. 19/18 Notre Dame on March 2.

Canes Against Ranked Teams

In four games against ranked teams, Miami is 3-1 with wins over No. 16 Utah, No. 20/22 Butler, and No. 24/20 Duke, and a loss to No. 13/11 Virginia. In those games, Sheldon McClellan averages 17.3 points per game, hitting 57.1 percent from the field. Angel Rodriguez averages 15.0 points and 5.3 assists while Tonye Jekiri records 11.0 points and 10.0 rebounds per game. Complete stats against ranked teams are on page eight.

Five in a Row For the Canes

Miami has won five league games in a row, its longest winning streak in ACC play since the 2012-13 season. UM is outscoring opponents by just 7.2 ppg in those five games, including a pair of two-point victories. The Canes won their first five ACC games by 13.0 points per game, with the closest margin an 11-point win over Duke.

Miami Posts 20-Win Season

Coach Jim Larrañaga has posted his fourth 20-win season in five years at The U, and his 10th career 20-win season. This is Miami’s seventh 20-win season since joining the ACC for the 2004-05 campaign. Larrañaga is just the second coach in Miami history with four 20-win seasons, joining Bruce Hale (1954-67).

Ten ACC Wins for the Third Time Under Coach L

Just 13 games into the league schedule, Miami has won 10 games in ACC play. In five seasons under Coach Jim Larrañaga, the Canes have won seven-or-more ACC games each season. Prior to the arrival of Coach L, Miami had never won 10 ACC games in a season.

McClellan Most Efficient Player in the Nation

Sheldon McClellan is the most efficient offensive player in the nation, among players with 20 percent-or-more possessions used, according to KenPom.com. He is also the most efficient player in the ACC overall, and No. 12 in the nation. McClellan is fifth in the ACC in 2-point field goal percentage (61.3), third in true shooting percentage (64.3) and 10th in free throw percentage (86.7). He is also eighth in the ACC in turnover rate (11.1).

The Houston native is currently on three national player of the year midseason watch lists: Naismith Trophy Men’s College Player of the Year, Oscar Robertson Trophy for Men’s National Player of the Year and Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year Award.

Canes 12th in Nation in FT Percentage

Miami ranks 12th in the nation in free throw percentage, connecting on 426-of-561 (75.9%) shots at the free throw line. UM averages 17.0 points per game at the line, and has posted a +11.7 scoring margin overall this season. The Canes have drawn 485 fouls, while committing only 419, which ranks UM No. 13 in the country in fewest fouls. Opponents have just 410 attempts at the charity stripe.

Rodriguez Improves Over the Past Seven Games

In the past seven games, point guard Angel Rodriguez has recorded 6.6 assists per game with just 1.9 turnovers per outing for a 3.5 assist-to-turnover ratio. Against Duke, he tallied 11 assists with just one miscue, and against Pitt, he recorded eight dimes. In those seven games, he has also averaged 11.7 points and 3.1 rebounds in 31.1 minutes, while hitting 45.5 percent from the field, 34.2 percent from three and 81.8 percent at the line. In his first six ACC outings, he posted a 1.2 assist to turnover ratio and averaged 3.0 assists, 9.2 points, 1.7 rebounds in 30.2 minutes, shooting 32.7 percent FG, 13.3 percent 3FG and 75.0 percent FT.

Newton Best Sixth Man in the Country

Dick Vitale has lauded Miami sophomore Ja’Quan Newton as the “best sixth man in the country.” Newton has immensely improved his stats from last year, and has scored in double digits 18 times this season.

In nine ACC victories Newton has played in (not vs. VT), he has averaged 12.0 points and 2.3 assists per game, hitting 51.4 percent from the field. In the Canes’ three losses he has put up 8.0 points and 1.3 assists per outing, knocking down 30.8 percent of his shots.

McClellan Closing in on 1,000 Points at Miami

Sheldon McClellan has tallied 952 points in 63 games at Miami. Added to his 843 points at Texas, he is also closing in on 2,000 career points.