12 p.m. March 12 Miami vs. Wake Forest
Miami will attempt to defeat its first Atlantic Coast Conference opponent away from the Watsco Center as they take on Wake Forest for the third time this season.
When these squads faced off just a couple of weeks ago, the the Hurricanes looked poised to secure a road victory before surrendering a 10-point lead in the closing minutes.
Junior Brandon Childress is the biggest offensive threat for the Demon Deacons, pacing the team with 14.7 points per game and 4.0 assists per contest. Childress hit the game-winning 3-pointer with 25 seconds remaining in Winston-Salem.
Sophomore Chaundee Brown has been all about The U this season.
Brown scored a career-best 22 points in the first meeting, despite Miami defeating Wake Forest. The guard responded with 21 points and a career-high 14 rebounds in the Deacons’ home triumph.
Wake comes into the ACC Tournament dropping three straight games.
However, the Demon Deacons nearly knocked off Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium, although the Blue Devils’ were missing ACC Player of the Year Zion Williamson because of a knee injury.
The Demon Deacons struggle offensively, ranking towards the bottom of the conference in most metrics. Wake Forest shoots a league-worst 36 percent from the field.
However, the Deacs excel on the offensive glass, leading the conference.
If the Hurricanes can limit second chance opportunities, Miami should have enough left in the tank to advance to face Virginia Tech on Wednesday.
Prediction: Miami 73 — Wake Forest 67
2 p.m. March 13 Miami vs. No. 16 Virginia Tech
The Hokies decisively swept the Hurricanes during the regular season, winning both contests by double-digits.
Virginia Tech is still without Justin Robinson after injuring his foot on Jan. 30 against Miami.
Even without Robinson, the Hokies have plenty of talent.
Junior Kerry Blackshear, Jr. has picked up playmaking and scoring slack. The All-ACC Second Team honoree has scored 20-plus points five times in the past ten outings.
Sophomore Nickeil Alexander-Walker, who leads the Hokies in scoring with 16.6 points, has dominated against Miami.
The All-ACC Third Team notched a career-high 25 points and six steals in Coral Gables before finishing with 21 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists, just two assists shy of a tripe-double in the most recent matchup.
The Hurricanes have found success with 3-pointers this season and the Hokies have allowed the most attempts and makes from behind the arc in the conference.
On the other hand, Miami’s biggest weakness has been Virginia Tech’s greatest strength.
The Hokies are the best rebounding team in the league, and one of the best in the nation.
Miami will have to cash in from distance in order to have any hope of pulling off the upset over Virginia Tech.
VT is simply on a different tier than UM and this game will likely signify the end of the Hurricanes’ subpar season.
Prediction: Virginia Tech 85 — Miami 68