Game Time: 8 p.m | Watsco Center — Miami, FL
Broadcast: ESPN, WQAM560 | Stream: WatchESPN
All-Time Series: Miami leads 12-8 | Current Streak: Miami won 1
Now that we’ve all had time to digest that hard-fought road loss to a No. 4 Louisville team — a game Miami could have and should have won — it’s time for Jim Larranaga to get his Hurricanes (16-8, 6-6 ACC) focused up and ready to bury Georgia Tech (15-10, 6-6 ACC) come tip-off in Dade.
This game has major ACC tournament implications as the Hurricanes, GT and Virginia Tech have matching 6-6 records in conference play. The Canes’ penultimate game of the season comes against VT. Twenty wins and a single win in the ACC tourney will go a long way for The U’s March Madness prospects.
Freshman guard Bruce Brown is averaging 11.7 PPG, 6.4 APG and 3.3 RPG in his initial (and hopefully not final) collegiate season. Mr. Do-Everything is coming off of a nice 12/4/7 performance at UL, but in his previous two contests he’s shot a combined 4-for-20 for a total of nine points. Miami is without a true point guard on its roster, and I think Brown is the closest thing that comes to it (Sorry, Quan). I expect the ball to be in Brown’s hands more often than not tonight.
- If I’m going to war and I had to pick one player from this squad to lead the way, it’s going to be Ebuka Izundu whether you like it or not. And if war is anything like basketball, Izundu, in fact, may be able to hold his own and be a productive
As conference play heads into its final stages, Izundu is becoming an increasingly annoying defender (for the opponent) and a surprisingly capable scorer. Before we met NC State, he totaled just 13 points and 28 rebounds in ACC play. In three games since, Izundu has notched 32 points (13-for-19 from the field) and 12 rebounds.
- It’s been more than two years since GT had last toppled our Hurricanes.
- Fine, I’ll admit, only one game has been played between the two teams since that Miami loss back in Jan. 2015, but the Canes defeated the Yellowjackets, 75-68, precisely one year and eight days ago, and I don’t expect much to change tonight.
- Just six games remain in the regular season and time is running out for the Canes to rattle off a streak and get that record at or above 20 wins. Three of those games come against ranked opponents, including rematches with the No. 12 Dookies at the Wat and the No. 17 Seminoles in Tallahassee. The Canes also meet No. 14 Virginia on their home court. Bad.
- Nine of Miami’s 12 ACC games were against teams coming off of a loss. They’re 5-4 in such games. Three of those losses came against the ranked FSU/Duke/Louisville trio and the fourth at Wake Forest. We’ve been facing hungry teams and that’s no easy task. Luckily we have GT right where we want them — they’re coming off of a win and we’re at the Wat. Good luck.
- Larralegend is coaching his 200th game for the Canes tonight.
- KenPom has the Hurricanes at No. 34, while they sit at No. 52 in RPI. For GT, KenPom says they’re No. 79, RPI says No. 78. Rankings are flawed, but there’s little to no doubt the Canes are superior in talent and esteem.