ACC Predictions: UM begins final stretch with matchups against Notre Dame, Boston College

Ja'Quan Newton
Senior guard Ja'Quan Newton slams down the fast-break dunk in the second half against Wake Forest. Newton scored 16 points to lead Miami to an 87-81 victory Feb. 7 at the Watsco Center. Photo credit: Josh White

7 p.m. Feb. 19 – Miami @ Notre Dame

Both Miami and Notre Dame have struggled to live up to high preseason expectations.

Miami and its stellar recruiting class have remained a fringe top-25 team all year long after many analysts predicted Final Four potential at the beginning of the season. On the other hand, Notre Dame boasted the preseason ACC Player of the Year in forward Bonzie Colson and made it into the AP top five just a couple weeks into the season.

But Colson has been out since early January, and the Canes have been playing without sophomore guard Bruce Brown Jr. for more than two weeks since he went down with a foot injury.

Both teams have been dealing with short-handed lineups, which has led to struggles, but they have gone in opposite directions recently when it comes to performance.

While the Canes have slumped into a three-game losing streak, the Irish have mended crucial injuries and have won two out of their previous three contests.

Traveling to South Bend on the heels of a losing streak will be a difficult task for UM. On top of that, Miami averaged just 52.5 points in its last two games at home. Scoring won’t come any easier in a hostile road environment.

Miami will also have its hands full on the defensive end, as Irish point guard Matt Farrell is coming off a 37-point performance at Boston College Feb. 17.

Prediction: Notre Dame 70 – Miami 62

2 p.m. Feb. 24 – Boston College @ Miami

Miami will look for revenge when it plays Boston College for the second time in as many weeks on this Saturday.

The Hurricanes let the previous contest in Chestnut Hill slip away late after leading for most of the game. Miami will have a much-needed four days to rest and recharge before it takes on the Eagles in Coral Gables, which should allow the Canes to regroup and come out ready to perform.

The challenges for Miami in this matchup remain the same. Boston College’s offense runs through guards Jerome Robinson and Ky Bowman. Both have proven they can create shots off the dribble for themselves and teammates.

Also, Robinson has become one of the best three-point shooters in the nation throughout his sophomore campaign. The duo of Robinson and Bowman combined for 53 points last time against Miami, but with three days to prepare, the Canes will make just enough plays on defense to outlast the Eagles.

Prediction: Miami 75 – Boston College 71