One week after taking down Wake Forest for their first conference win of the season, Canes Hoops returns to the Watsco Center floor as they host the 13th-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels.
UNC comes in with a respectable 13-4 record, securing signature victories over UCLA, Gonzaga, and NC State. Their losses include a November matchup with last year’s national runner up and currently undefeated Michigan, a December defeat to the 12th ranked Kentucky, and a conference loss to Louisville last week. The Tar Heels are led by seniors Cameron Johnson and Luke Maye. Johnson is the Tar Heels leading scorer at 15.5 ppg, and is a matchup nightmare with his sharpshooting (45% from deep) and great size (he stands at 6’9”). Maye is a first team All-ACC selection that is currently averaging a double-double (14.4 ppg, 10.1 rpg).
As a team, the Tar Heels outpace the Canes in nearly every category, including points, field goal percentage, rebounds, assists and steals. Miami allows 3 less points per game, but will find it difficult to keep up with UNC’s offensive firepower.
What the Canes do have on their side coming into this matchup is rest and momentum. The Canes haven’t played since last Saturday, and considering Miami’s lack of depth, fresh legs could make all of the difference. Chris Lykes continues to put the Canes in a position to compete, as the sophomore guard has averaged 22 points per game in conference play, and Ebuka Izundu is a solid rim protector and offensive presence on the interior. Miami needs quality performances from nearly all of its 7-man rotation to have a chance in this game.
Tipoff is scheduled for 12:00pm ET, and you can watch the action on ESPN2.