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Miami Basketball Hosts Pitt: How to Watch/Open Thread

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

UM returns to action this evening (7PM EST ESPNU) with a visit from the Pittsburgh Panthers.

Miami is 7-3 in the conference, and can pull within a half game of ACC Leading UNC with a win.

Pitt (6-4) is 2-2 on the road this season, and led by the best pair of forwards in the conference in Jamel Artis and Michael Young.

Look for Kamari Murphy and Davon Reed to draw the assignments.

The 'Canes will need to be on their game, but have been especially strong at home this season (5-0 in the ACC).

This should be a good one.

Game Notes (courtesy UM):

The Game

No. 12/11 Miami returns to the BankUnited Center Feb. 9 to face off against Pittsburgh at 7 p.m.

The Broadcasts

Catch the game on Super Tuesday Presented by Hotels.com on ESPNU with Mike Couzens and Len Elmore on the call. Also check out the game on WHIM 1080 radio with Joe Zagacki, the Voice of the Hurricanes.

The Coach

Head coach Jim Larrañaga has a 579-387 overall record in his 32nd season as a head coach. He is 109-53 in his fifth season at the University of Miami, with a 48-32 mark in ACC play.

The Polls (as of Feb. 8)

AP: Miami -12, Pittsburgh - RV

USA TODAY: Miami - 11, Pittsburgh - RV

KenPom.com: Miami - 12, Pittsburgh - 55

NCAA RPI: Miami -14, Pittsburgh - 44

The Weather

Game day temperatures: Coral Gables - 68/52; Pittsburgh, Pa. - 35/22.

The Series

Miami is 17-18 in the all-time series against Pittsburgh, which dates back to the 1947-48 season. The Canes are 10-7 at home against the Panthers, 6-10 on the road and 1-1 at neutral sites. UM is 1-1 under Coach L. Miami won the last matchup with Pittsburgh, defeating the Panthers, 67-63, on Mar. 4, 2015 at the Peterson Events Center in Pittsburgh, Pa.

The Note

Senior guard Sheldon McClellan has posted the eighth-best shooting percentage (52.7%) in the country among guards, and has the top shooting percentage among guards in the ACC, according to stats on NCAA.org on Feb. 7. McClellan’s 2-point shooting percentage is 61.4 percent this season.

McClellan is currently on three national player of the year 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.

Lucky Sevens in ACC Play

Just 10 games into the league schedule, Miami has already won seven 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 eight wins or more in only one campaign, when UM was 8-8 in 2007-08.

McClellan Most Efficient Player in the ACC

Senior Sheldon McClellan is the most efficient player in the ACC and No. 8 in the nation, according to KenPom.com. He is also No. 1 in the nation among players with 20 percent or more possessions used. In two games last week, he hit 80 percent (12-15) of his shots from the field, was 4-of-4 from three and 6-of-8 at the line. At Georgia Tech, he posted his sixth 20-point game of the season. Miami is 6-0 when Mac scores 20 points or more.

Parity and Winning on the Road in the ACC

Through games on Feb. 7, the ACC home record of an unranked team playing a ranked team is 10-15. Seven teams have been ranked at least two weeks during conference season; each have lost at least once as a ranked team on the road at an unranked team.

Home teams’ overall winning percentage in conference play is 63.3 percent, the ninth-highest in D-I (32 conferences). No team is undefeated on the road, and only Louisville has just one loss (plays at Duke Monday).

Canes 10th in Nation in FT Percentage

Miami has connected on 385-of-506 (76.1%) shots at the free throw line, while opponents have just 377 attempts at the charity stripe. UM averages 17.5 points per game at the line, and has posted a +12.4 scoring margin this season. Miami ranks 10th in the nation in free throw percentage. The Canes have drawn 433 fouls, while committing only 375, which ranks UM No. 11 in the country in fewest fouls.

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 Miami’s seven ACC victories Newton has averaged 14.0 points and 2.6 assists per game, hitting 54.7 percent from the field. In the Canes’ three losses he has put up 8.0 points and 1.3 assists per outing, knocking down only 30.8 percent of his shots.

Jekiri on the Boards

In 126 games at Miami senior Tonye Jekiri has grabbed 817 rebounds, ninth-most in Miami history. He has improved his rebounds per game from 1.6 as a rookie to 9.8 as a senior. He also has grabbed double-digit rebounds in 36 games over the past two seasons (59 games played), after doing so just three times in his first 67 outings.

The BUC is Sold Out

In just his fifth season in Coral Gables, Jim Larrañaga and Miami have SOLD OUT the season ticket allotment for all home games this year at the BankUnited Center. This is the first time in Miami athletics history a team has sold out their season. Due to the season ticket sales, seats are not available on a single-game basis. In Coach Larrañaga’s fifth season at The U, fans have bought 5,500 season tickets, more than doubling the total number of season tickets sold in his first season in Coral Gables. When Coach L began his reign in Miami, fans bought 2,251 season tickets for the 2011-12 campaign. After a record-breaking season on the court in 2012-13, season tickets peaked at 3,674 for 2013-14.