2 p.m. Feb. 10 – Miami @ Boston College
This matchup presents itself as a classic trap game for Miami.
With a game against likely No. 1 Virginia looming, it would be easy for the Canes to look ahead and show up in Chestnut Hill lacking focus. That would be a grave mistake, as Boston College has a win against top-ranked Duke on its resume, in addition to two losses against Clemson and Virginia by a combined 5 points.
Miami will need stellar play out of its guards on the defensive end of the floor if it wants to leave Boston College with a victory.
The Eagles’ offense, which averages 76.1 points a game, is led by the backcourt duo of Ky Bowman and Jerome Robinson. Robinson is especially lethal from behind the arc, shooting 47.2 percent from the three-point line this season. The Hurricanes guards and wings will need to be up to the challenge of contesting all outside shots. After capturing some momentum with three-straight wins over the last week, Miami will squeak out a close one to set up a ranked matchup on Tuesday night.
Prediction: Miami 80 – Boston College 77
9 p.m. Feb. 13 – Virginia @ Miami
Miami has paved its way to a respectable 18-5 record and a top-25 ranking so far this season, yet the team still lacks a true signature win that the NCAA Tournament selection committee covets.
A home matchup against Virginia provides the Canes with a great opportunity to clinch a bid into the Big Dance and potentially improve their seeding in both the NCAA and ACC Tournaments.
This game will feature two of the ACC’s best defensive teams and shapes up to be a low scoring contest.
Virginia exemplifies team basketball on both ends of the floor and is holding opponents to an NCAA-best 52.4 points a night. In order for Miami to pull the upset, it will need to push the pace and force Virginia into mistakes they wouldn’t normally make. That task is much easier said than done, and because the Cavaliers are playing better than any other team in the country right now, they have a huge advantage in this one.
Prediction: Virginia 58 – Miami 50
Noon Feb. 17 – Syracuse @ Miami
Syracuse has limped to a 5-6 start in the ACC, and its schedule doesn’t get any easier the rest of the season. Four out of its last five games will be played against ranked teams, including one in Miami.
The Hurricanes will have adjusted to life without Bruce Brown Jr. on the court at this point in the season and will be making a push toward the ACC and NCAA Tournaments. The Orange will likely not have much to play for and will have to travel all the way down the East Coast to play a noon tip-off.
All factors considered, Miami should bounce back and end this three-game stretch with an easy victory over Cuse.
Prediction: Miami 80 – Syracuse 65