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Canes Hoop: Miami will be tested in ACC matchups against Clemson and Duke

The Hurricanes are going into battle against two conference foes.

NCAA Basketball: Florida State at Miami Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Hurricanes basketball has a stretch of two big games against ranked ACC opponents. The Hurricanes travel for a road game Saturday against No. 19 Clemson and will host No. 7 Duke Monday night in a nationally televised game at Watsco Center.

If the Canes can pull out wins over Clemson and Duke, it could help offset the two disappointing losses to New Mexico State and Georgia Tech.

The last time Miami faced a quick turnaround was in the Diamond Head Classic in Hawaii. The ‘Canes dropped its first game of the season against New Mexico State, 63-54, after tipping-off against the Aggies less than 24 hours after facing the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors.

Miami can use the experience in Hawaii to help get through this tough stretch of basketball.

Head Coach Jim Larrañaga may change the starting lineup again to help Miami adjust to Clemson’s and Duke’s different styles of play.

Chris Lykes, Bruce Brown Jr., and Dewan Huell have all elevated their games and have given Miami a competitive lineup. Lykes won ACC Rookie of the Week with his career-high 18 point performance against the Florida State Seminoles. Brown and Huell have increased their production and helped the team improve its offensive rhythm.

Clemson (14-2, 3-1) suffered a 78-77 loss to North Carolina State on Thursday, but is ranked in the Top 25 and is a competitive team in the ACC.

The Tigers are undefeated at home this season with a 9-0 record. Clemson holds the all-time series leads with Miami, 13-1. Miami defeated Clemson, 71-65, last season in the teams’ only meeting.

After Miami battles Clemson, Duke is up next.

Duke (14-2, 2-2) enters the contest with a roster similar to Miami’s. The Blue Devils have elite young and veteran players. Duke is led by freshman Marvin Bagley III. Bagley is averaging a team-high 21.9 points per game.

Under Larrañaga, Miami is 5-3 against Duke and 6-0 in ranked matchups at home.

This tough turnaround can help the Hurricanes make a statement as a top competitor in the ACC and live up to the preseason hype.