Basketball, Commentary, Cover, Sports

ACC Predictions: UM looks to bolster tournament chances

9 p.m. Feb. 27 – Miami @ No. 9 North Carolina

Following a thrilling win at home over Boston College, the Hurricanes travel to Chapel Hill with their first of two opportunities to win double-digit ACC contests.

It will be a tall order. The UNC Tar Heels are one of the hottest teams in the country heading into March, boasting a six-game winning streak. The formula fueling this hot streak is different from the one that led coach Roy Williams’ teams to back-to-back title games.

Those teams had multiple dominant upperclassman who played inside and controlled the rebounding battle, with the help of Justin Jackson on the perimeter.

Williams has adjusted that method. The team is now lead by junior Luke Maye, a big man that shoots 3-pointers, and Joel Berry II, who was last year’s “Most Outstanding Player” of the Final Four.

Instead of a couple dominant big men, Maye and a deep group of solid wings consisting of Theo Pinson, Pittsburgh transfer Cam Johnson and Kenny Williams have led the effort on the glass.

To win a tough game on the road, Miami will need to do its best to limit the second-chance opportunities of the country’s leading offensive-rebounding team. On offense, the Canes must attack the basket relentlessly, as UNC lacks a true shot-blocking threat and is a bit undersized. Sophomore forward Dewan Huell could dominate against a small front court, but it may not be enough.

Prediction: North Carolina 84 – Miami 71

Noon March 3 – Virginia Tech @ Miami

Miami closes out its regular season against Virginia Tech, which sits at an identical 9-7 ACC record going into the last week of the season.

A win over the Hokies would give the Canes the tiebreaker over North Carolina State, Louisville and Virginia Tech, all of which currently claim nine conference victories. So it could greatly benefit Miami’s ACC Tournament seeding.

Coach Buzz Williams’ team is the only one in the conference that can say it beat Virginia, which is currently the No. 1 team in the country. The Hokies have the talent to beat anybody, so how can the Hurricanes pull off a win against them for a second time this season?

In the first matchup between the two teams, Miami dominated the glass 41-28 and got off to a hot shooting start to put away Virginia Tech. The Hokies’ duo of Justin Robinson and Justin Bibbs both played well, combining for 38 points, but fellow double-digit scorers Ahmed Hill and Kerry Blackshear Jr. failed to do much of anything, totaling just two points.

Part of V-Tech’s strength is in its deep stable of scorers, but if UM can turn two of them into non-factors again, that’s a pretty good recipe for a win.

On offense, look for the Canes to shoot away from deep – they knocked in 10 of 21 3-pointers in their last matchup against the Hokies – and if they can connect on those looks, they should ride into the postseason with another 10-win ACC showing.

Prediction: Miami 85 – Virginia Tech 83

February 26, 2018

Reporters

Justin Sobelman


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

Eleven football seasons ago, after the Miami Hurricanes and FIU Panthers met at the Orange Bowl for ...

University of Miami fans no doubt are loving the Hurricanes’ two newest tight ends. What they’re pro ...

A six-pack of Hurricanes notes on a Thursday: ▪ Though UM wasn’t called for a single penalty against ...

Two of the best athletes and a freshman quarterback on the No. 21 University of Miami football team ...

A six-pack of Hurricanes notes on a Wednesday: ▪ The Miami Hurricanes are honoring their 1983 nation ...

Get Out The Vote, a nonpartisan initiative headed by the Division of Student Affairs and the Butler ...

University of Miami Libraries commemorates Banned Books Week with a special event and display. ...

A year after UPup’s founding father met his match, the service club is realizing its goal of becomin ...

UM students, faculty and staff commemorated the five-year anniversary of the Donna E. Shalala Studen ...

Miami’s Turnover Chain inspires copycats, but the U’s turnover prop has a ‘cool factor.’ ...

The Miami Hurricanes volleyball program won its third straight match in 3-0 fashion on Friday night ...

Estela Perez-Somarriba of the Miami women's tennis team registered two straight-set wins Friday ...

It's been over a decade since they last met, but Miami and FIU are set to renew their crosstown ...

The University of Miami cross country team gears up to compete in its third meet of the season this ...

University of Miami Director of Athletics Blake James announced Friday a five-year contract extensio ...

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.