Basketball

Canes face Hokies in first round of ACC tournament

SENIOR STAR: Jack McClinton backs down his defender at a game against Boston College earlier this season.  ALEX BROADWELL // FILE PHOTO

SENIOR STAR: Jack McClinton backs down his defender at a game against Boston College earlier this season. ALEX BROADWELL // FILE PHOTO

It will all be on the line for the No. 9-seed Miami Hurricanes today at noon, as they will face the No. 8-seed Virginia Tech in the first round of the ACC tournament in Atlanta, Ga.

As most experts believe, the Hurricanes would need this win to keep their hopes alive for the NCAA tournament.

However, head coach Frank Haith understands that he and his team cannot pay attention to bracketologists.

“I really try not to pay any attention to it,” Haith said. “I think all it does is probably upset you, the more you watch it. I don’t know what they’re saying right now, but I just know this, we’re going to be fine if we take care of business. Win a game or two and I think we will be okay.”

The last time Miami faced Virginia Tech, the Canes suffered a heartbreaker in overtime, losing 88-83.

“We did a really good job last time, in terms of execution, offensively,” Haith said. “We did not defend as well, and we have to defend a lot better.”

Winners of three of their last four games, the Canes have advanced past the opening round of the ACC tournament in three straight seasons.

However, last year, Virginia Tech bounced Miami out in the second round. This year, the Hokies are struggling down the stretch.

The Hokies ride a three-game skid into Atlanta and have dropped six of their last seven games.

The key for the Hurricanes is to stop the Hokies’ big three. The trio of Malcolm Delaney, Jeff Allen and A.D. Vassallo combined for 74 of the 83 points for Virginia Tech’s win over the Hurricanes in their last meeting. If the Hurricanes are able to slow down at least one of the three, the Hokies will not be in sync.

“They all had great performances against us,” Haith said. “The big three shot the ball extremely well, and we have to do a good job on all three of those guys.”

Offensively, the Hurricanes have to worry about captain Jack McClinton getting healthy. Tuesday was the first time McClinton practiced fully in a long time. Miami will need every bit of first team All-ACC McClinton today. McClinton finished third in scoring in the ACC, with 19.7 per game, and he also finished first in free throw percentage and 3-pointer percentage.

“It’s an awesome day for Jack and an awesome day for the University of Miami,” Haith said.

Now that it’s crunch time, the Canes need another weapon in the ACC tournament. Haith believes that if junior Dwayne Collins plays loose, he could definitely contribute for Miami.

“I just want him to relax and play, not worry about the past and stay aggressive,” Haith said. “I think [thinking about the past]can only hamper him going out and playing.”

Today, Miami has to find a way to win. The season and a shot to return to the NCAA tournament is riding on this game.

“Obviously I want us to win and get to the NCAA tournament,” Haith said. “Four games have come down to the last possession. This time could be totally different, if the ball bounces our way. We’ve been in every game. We have a great game [today].”

March 12, 2009

Reporters

Lelan LeDoux

Senior Sports Writer


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

It’s the play Miami Hurricanes fans will never forget — and Florida State fans are trying to forget. ...

Miami Hurricanes fans might recall their favorite college football players in past years dreaming of ...

The new quarterback is usually the ones fans gush over. For the University of Miami, last season it ...

Debate all you want, but University of Miami football coach Mark Richt made it clearer than ever Wed ...

Last year, when University of Miami tailback Mark Walton attended the Atlantic Coast Conference Foot ...

UM dining services team earns national recognition for special event catering. ...

From hammerheads to great whites, University of Miami researcher Neil Hammerschlag is a dedicated sp ...

An ACLU report authored by UM sociologists documents racial and ethnic disparities in Miami-Dade Cou ...

Following the summit between Trump and Putin, reaction from politicians, pundits and former intellig ...

A School of Communication associate professor played an important hand—an artistic one!—in World Cup ...

Miami senior Tyler Gauthier was named to the 2018 Fall Watch List for the Rimington Trophy presented ...

Miami junior wide receiver Ahmmon Richards was among those named to the watch list for the 2018 Bile ...

University of Miami junior running back Travis Homer was named a preseason candidate for the Doak Wa ...

Six former Canes competed on NBA Summer League teams, with three averaging at least 10 points per ga ...

Quick Hits gives University of Miami volleyball fans an opportunity to get to know the new student-a ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.