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Canes Hoops Preview: Miami vs Hawaii

The Hurricanes head to Hawaii over Christmas week to face the Rainbow Warriors in the Diamond Head Classic.

NCAA Basketball: Princeton at Miami Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The sixth-ranked Miami men’s basketball team is set to square off against non-conference opponent Hawaii Rainbow Warriors at 1 a.m. Saturday in its opening game of the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu.

Miami is one of four remaining unbeaten teams in the nation with hopes to continue moving up the rankings if they keep finding ways to win.

The Hurricanes jumped out to a hot start to defeat the George Washington Colonials, 59-50, in the squads previous game. The Colonials have a talented team and fought back in the second half, but Miami’s dominant defense held the George Washington to season lows in scoring (50) and shooting (30.2%).

In their first Diamond Head Classic appearance in 2012, the Hurricanes went 1-2, beating Hawaii, 73-58, before dropping games to Arizona State and Indiana State.

This will be Miami’s second appearance in the Diamond Head Classic (1-2) and the fifth meeting between the teams. Miami holds a 3-1 series lead over Hawaii.

Head Coach Eran Ganot is in his third season at Hawai’i (49-24) and has his team on a three-game winning streak. The Rainbow Warriors are averaging 73.3 points per game and allowing 70.2 points per game.

Hawaii is led by senior Mike Thomas. The 6-7 forward is leading the team in points and rebounds averaging 12.6 points and 6.8 rebounds, respectively. He will look to continue this scoring output and use playing on his team’s home court to his advantage.

Diamond Head Classic

Who: Hawaii (7-2, 0-0 Big West) vs. No. 6 Miami (9-0, 0-0 ACC)

When: Dec. 23, 2017

Time: 1:00 a.m. ET

Television: ESPNU/WatchESPN

The ‘Canes offense has a balanced scoring attack, with eight players averaging at least 5.0 points per contest. Miami defense is holding opponents to 56.3 points per game and is winning by an average 20.7 ppg.

The ‘Canes stifling defense and consistency on offense should help them earn a win. Miami has experience playing tough games on the road and will look to Dewan Huell, Bruce Brown Jr., and Lonnie Walker IV to have solid performances.

With a win against Hawaii, Miami will play either Davidson (4-4) or New Mexico State (9-2) at 10 p.m. ET Saturday (less than 24 hours from the end of the Hawaii game). If Miami loses, they will tip off at 12:30 a.m. ET on Sunday. The bracket for the rest of the tournament is below.