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Preview: Miami vs #9 North Carolina

The ‘Canes look to shake up the standings by taking down ACC-leading UNC

NCAA Basketball: Boston College at Miami
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

UNC comes into Coral Gables sitting on top of the ACC standings as the league’s only team with one conference loss.

And that loss came back in 2016…

The Tar Heels are 7-0 in 2017 and coming off a 91-72 home victory over Virginia Tech on Thursday. UNC has scored at least 85 points in each game during their seven game win streak.

Meanwhile, Miami is coming off a 78-77 victory over Boston College on Wednesday, a game in which the Hurricanes allowed 55 second half points.

So how do the ‘Canes win this game?

-Rebound, rebound, rebound:

UNC gets an offensive rebound on over 43% of their missed shots. They have three starters over 6’ 8” and five players averaging over five rebounds a game. Miami can’t allow the Tar Heels too many second chance points, it’s hard enough to beat them when total field goal attempts are the same, let alone if UNC dominates the offensive boards. The Hurricanes need a big day from Kamari Murphy on the glass.

-Keep the turnovers to a minimum:

Miami has 32 turnovers in their last two games, and UNC will try and apply a lot of pressure on Saturday, so Miami needs to take care of the ball or else once again they risk losing the total field goals battle by a wide stretch. This means especially Bruce Brown and Ja’quan Newton will need to show composure and value each possession.

-A strong showing from the bench:

Assuming Anthony Lawrence Jr. starts again, coming off the bench will be Dejan Vasiljevic, Dewan Huell and Ebuka Izundu. While not much is expected of Izundu in this game, Vasiljevic and Huell can play a large role. Huell is coming off an efficient 4-5 from the field versus BC, and if he can stay hot and use his 6’ 11” frame to grab some boards he could see some extended playing time this afternoon. And if Vasiljevic can add a spark by hitting a few three-pointers, then the crowd could really start bumping at the Watsco Center.

Miami has won 22 of their last 23 home games. If there’s a chance to turn around this conference season, it’s today against the mighty Tar Heels. A win would make the ‘Canes .500 in conference with a record of 4-4, a loss would mean another lull in a disappointing ACC season.


North Carolina 84 Miami 76

Broadcasts of the game:

Television: CBS - Ian Eagle, Bill Raftery

Radio: 560 WQAM - Joe Zagacki