Noon Jan. 21 – Miami @ N.C. State
After losing Dennis Smith Jr. to the NBA after last season, the Wolfpack have relied on a more balanced attack on the offense this year. With four out of five starters averaging double figures in scoring, N.C. State (13-6, 3-3 ACC) has caught fire during the first half of January, winning three out of its last four games. This includes upset victories against No. 2 Duke and No. 19 Clemson.
Miami has headed in the opposite direction since the calendar flipped to 2018. The Hurricanes have lost three of their last four contests and have fallen to 2-3 in ACC play. Miami is in desperate need of a win, and because of that, will have an edge in Sunday’s game.
Prediction: Miami 68 – N.C. State 61
8 p.m. Jan. 24 – Louisville @ Miami
Louisville has surprised many up to this point in the season after suffering a hectic offseason, in which long-time head coach Rick Pitino was fired amidst a scandal involving improper benefits given to recruits. Many assumed this would be a rebuilding year for the Cardinals, but they have shown they still have plenty of talent on the court in route to a 4-1 start in the conference play.
Louisville is led by junior forward Deng Adel, who is averaging 15.7 points per game this season, and an offense that has averaged almost 82 points a night in its last four wins.
However, the Canes boast one of the country’s best defenses and should be able to hold the Cardinals’ attack in check at home next Wednesday.
Prediction: Miami 75 – Louisville 65
4 p.m. Jan. 27 – Miami @ Florida State
Florida State will be hungry for revenge in this one after losing a close game to Miami a couple weeks ago.
It took a combined 61 points from the trio of Bruce Brown Jr., Chris Lykes and Dewan Huell to beat the Seminoles in the first matchup, and Miami will need similar individual efforts again if it wants to finish a season sweep of FSU on the road.
After a promising start to the season in non-conference play, Florida State has experienced a rough 2-4 skid in the ACC. Much like the Hurricanes against N.C. State, the Seminoles will be desperate for a conference win. That desperation, combined with an energized home crowd during a rivalry game, will be enough to send UM home with a loss.
Prediction: Florida State 71 – Miami 58