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Miami Basketball @ Notre Dame: Open Thread/How to Watch

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Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Hurricanes continue their "March" toward an ACC Crown with a visit to South Bend tonight (7PM ESPN2) to take on the Fighting Irish.

Miami needs wins in its final 2 (this game and @VT Saturday)  and a UNC loss to Duke this weekend, to win the Atlantic Coast Conference regular season and clinch a #1 seed in next week's ACC Tourney.

It will not be easy though.

ND is the #2 team in the country in offensive efficiency.

Guards Demetrius Jackson and Steve Vasturia can both score in bunches, and Jackson is also one of the best distributors in the country.

UM will need another strong effort from Angel Rodriguez, as the will again be with out super sub Ja'Quan Newton (suspended 3 games).

The key to this one might actually be which big gets the better of the match-up between Tonye Jekiri and Zach Auguste.

It should be another fun one.

Much more coverage coming tonight.

Game Notes (Courtesy UM):

The Game

The No. 7 Hurricanes travel to Indiana to face Notre Dame on March 2 at 7 p.m.

The Broadcasts

Catch the game on ESPN2 with Bob Wischusen and Fran Fraschilla 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 584-388 overall record in his 32nd season as a head coach. He is 114-54 in his fifth season at the University of Miami, with a 53-33 mark in ACC play.

The Polls  (as of Feb. 29)

AP: Miami -7, Notre Dame - RV

USA TODAY: Miami - 7, Notre Dame - RV

KenPom.com: Miami - 11, Notre Dame - 34

NCAA RPI: Miami -7, Notre Dame - 21

Miami’s 15-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 12 weeks this season, topping the previous school record of 10 in the 1959-60 season.

The Canes are ranked 12-or-better in the AP for the sixth time this season, 13th time under Coach L, 17th time since 1985-86 and 24th time since 1959-60.

The Weather

Game day temperatures: Coral Gables - 84/63;  Notre Dame, Ind., 32/20.

The Series

Miami is 9-10 in the all-time series against Notre Dame, which dates back to the 1985-86 season. The Canes are 5-4 at home against the Fighting Irish, 3-5 on the road and 1-1 at neutral sites. UM is 2-2 against ND under Coach L and Larrañaga is 2-3 all-time against Notre Dame.

Miami defeated Notre Dame in the first matchup of the season, a 79-70 victory in Coral Gables. The Canes hit 56.4 percent from the field and knocked down six shots from three, four of which were from freshman Anthony Lawrence, Jr., who led the way with 18 points. Tonye Jekiri grabbed 12 rebounds and Angel Rodriguez notched five assists.  The complete box is on page 17 of the notes.

The Note

Senior guard Sheldon McClellan is the third-most efficient offensive player in the country among players used in 20 percent of possessions, and 19th overall, according to KenPom.com on Feb. 29. McClellan has posted the 13th-best shooting percentage (50.6%) in the country among guards, and has the top shooting percentage among guards in the ACC, according to stats on NCAA.org on Feb. 29. McClellan’s 2-point shooting percentage is 57.6 percent this season.

Exceeding Expectations

In the past four years, Coach Jim Larrañaga’s Canes have exceeded preseason expectations every campaign. Larrañaga is the only coach in the ACC to finish above the preseason poll predictions every season, and has the largest margin of surpassing those expectations.             

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).

Twelve ACC Wins for the Second Time Under Coach L

Miami has won 12 games in ACC play for just the second time in school history. 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.

Back-To-Back Victories Over Top 15 Teams

With wins over No. 3 Virginia and No. 11 Louisville, Miami has earned consecutive wins over top 15 opponents for the first time in school history. The Canes have defeated top 25 teams consecutively twice: Nov. 20, 2015 - No. 16 Utah and Nov. 22, 2015 - No. 22/20 Butler, and Jan. 7, 2006 - 14/12 Maryland and Jan. 14, 2006 - No. 20 at North Carolina.

Since the arrival of Coach L in 2011-12, the Canes have won at least two games over ranked teams in all but one season (2013-14). Miami has five wins over ranked teams this season, topping  the previous high of four, in 2006-07 and 1998-99.

This is also the second-straight year and the fourth time in Coach L’s five seasons that the Canes have defeated two top 15 teams.

2015-16: No. 3 Virginia, No. 11 Louisville.              

2014-15: No. 8/7 Florida, No. 4 Duke.     

2012-13: No. 13/14 Michigan State, No. 1 Duke.

2011-12: No. 7/5 Duke, No. 15/16 Florida State.

Best FG Shooting Percentage in 27 Years

The Canes are hitting 47.5 percent (733-1544) from the field, the best in Miami’s history since the 1988-89 season when UM was hitting 49.2 percent (1024-2083) of its shots. Miami’s 74.9 percent at the line is the best since 77.1 percent in 2001-02.

Canes Have Home Court Advantage

With the BankUnited Center sold out for every game this season, the Canes were 15-1 overall and 9-0 in ACC play this year at home. The 15 wins are the most in school history, topping 14 in 2012-13, 2011-12 and 2007-08. The Hurricanes posted a 13-game home winning streak which is tied with the 2012-13 season for the second longest in school history, trailing only the 15-game streak between Dec. 15, 1964 and Dec. 1, 1965.

Miami and Virginia (8-0) are the only two ACC schools with perfect conference records at home this season.  UVa still has one home game to play, against Louisville on March 5.

ESPN’s Basketball Power Index

Miami is 12-2 against teams ranked in the top 50 of ESPN’s BPI, posting a 90.0 mark in the index. Miami is one of only two teams to win 12 games over top 50 opponents, along with Kansas (12-3).

The Basketball Power Index (BPI) is a team rating system that accounts for the final score, pace of play, site, strength of opponent and absence of key players in every Division I men’s game. BPI can be used to measure both how well a team has performed (going far beyond just wins and losses) and how powerful it is likely to be going forward.

Last Week with Davon Reed

Junior guard Davon Reed shot 73.3 percent (11-15) from the field, 80.0 percent (8-10) from three and 88.9 percent (8-9) at the line in Miami’s two wins over top 15 teams last week. He averaged 19.0 points and 3.5 rebounds in 33.0 minutes per outing. Reed scored a career-high 21 points against No. 3 Virginia on ESPN’s Big Monday, while matching up defensively against Malcolm Brogdon. Reed was 6-8 from the field and 5-6 from three against the Cavaliers. He also hit all four of his shots at the line and grabbed three rebounds in 31 minutes. In the Canes’ win over No. 11 Louisville, Reed was 5-7 from the field and 3-4 from long range, while knocking down 4-5 at the line, for 17 points. He also grabbed four rebounds and tallied an assist, a block and a steal in 35 minutes.