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UNC at Miami(FL)

Where: BankUnited Center, Coral Cables, FL
When: Wednesday, January 26th, 7:30 PM
Records: UNC 13-5, 3-1 ACC; Miami 12-7, 1-4 ACC

Let’s hope the flight to Miami is not indicative of the manner in which this game will be played. Andrew Jones at Fox Sports provides a nice summary of Tar Heel player tweets after a rough landing in which they apparently feared for their lives and offers many thanks to God afterwards.

Unlike Georgia Tech and to some extent Virginia Tech, Miami is not a team that has given UNC a ton of trouble since joining the ACC. The Heels are 7-1 vs the Hurricanes and 3-0 in Coral Gables. The only loss suffered by UNC at the hands of Miami came in 2006 during the first meeting in Chapel Hill. UNC won the rematch weeks later on the road as a part of the impressive win streak that lifted the 2006 squad from borderline NCAA team to a top three ACC finish. What lies in front of UNC this evening is an opportunity. Road wins are hard to come by and while Miami should not be trifled with, this is certainly a game UNC could and probably should take. Securing a 2nd road win this early in this season would be like finding gold.

The Heels are coming off an eight day layoff. The break was helpful since both Leslie McDonald and Reggie Bullock needed the time to recover from their respective injuries. UNC has always responded fairly well after layoffs and the hope is they come out with the same kind of fire we saw in the first half versus Clemson. Miami is not great defensively speaking. KenPom.com has them at 123rd in defensive efficiency and ranked in the 200s on defensive OR% and turnover rate. Miami only forces turnovers 18.7% of the time which falls well below the national average. UNC should be able to thrive offensively(as much as UNC can thrive offensively.) Kendall Marshall will start again at PG giving UNC the change to get off on the right offensive foot.

UNC’s focus really should be on the defensive end. Miami is a good offensive rebounding team and has solid players at the positions which have routinely given UNC trouble. PG Durand Scott had 29 points in a losing effort versus UNC last year. Scott shoots 37% from three and is really quick which puts UNC on notice to stop penetration. Joining Scott in the backcourt of Malcolm Grant who leads the Canes in scoring at 15.7 ppg and shoots 44% from three. Facing two capable guards is often a nightmare for UNC so I would not blame you if you got into the fetal position now. Of course there is also 6-10 forward Reggie Johnson who averages 12.3 ppg and a gaudy 9.8 rpg. Johnson has eight double-doubles in 19 games and four other contests where he had nine rebounds. John Henson, Justin Knox and Tyler Zeller will have their hands full keeping Johnson off the boards or else good defensive possessions could go to waste.

Miami has been good at times and not so much at others. They trailed NCSU by 17 in Raleigh on Sunday and rallied only to lose by two. That might say more about NCSU than Miami if the game at Clemson last night was an indication. All things considered a road game is a road game and the opponent should be treated like they are ranked #1 in the country, because against UNC teams always seem to play like they are.

UNC 71 Miami 67

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15 comments to UNC at Miami(FL)

  • TheUNCFan

    Worried about this game. Miami is a team that you can do everything right on defense, but they’ll still hit a 3, and they can stay in a game. State defended their shooters fairly well when Miami made 3s to get back in the game. Will our guards get rattled? Can we trade baskets if Miami gets hot for a few minutes?

    Plus Miami has a 300lb center who plays well, and will give our willowy post players difficulty. Henson’s help defense and shot blocking will be huge, if the rest of the team can cover the outside shooters. Knox, and Zeller, will have to stay out of foul trouble, which is not easy. And as big as he is, Miami’s center can run the floor and has quickness that you wouldn’t expect.

    Miami’s zone will present problems. UNC is not a good 3-point shooting team and can’t just brick their way to a loss. I’d like to see Zeller take some foul-line jumpers, which he can make, to force the zone to spread out and give us driving lanes. Good shots will be critical.

    And I just don’t like games at Miami - their venue is like a circus sideshow with all the loud music and everything.

    If everything goes well, the Heels will shred the zone with good penetration and good jump shots. They’ll keep Miami from running by not turning the bal over. They’ll play good defense, particularly help defense, and come out with a road win.

  • UNC’s RPI is 20th right now, but we’re projected to lose 4 out of the next 6 games (including a loss tonight). This is going to be a key stretch.

  • Heel in Purple

    I don’t feel good at all about this game. There is nothing that I like: 2, TWO guards that could go beserker mode and continue the GGoVC Law. They play zone. Its on the road. Miami really, really needs a conference win or they’re done.

    However, while I’m usually right about UNC (I thought they would win at Duke in 2006), I am sometimes wrong (thought we would win at Dook last year…yeah). I hope I am wrong.

    Time for Harrison to get going, and either LMAC and Bull need to shrug off injury and going off. Zeller needs to have a UK game vs a mountain man down low.

  • TarHeelInMinny

    Agree with the worries, but I think the Heels will come out focused and prepared.

    Key against the zone-not shoot quick 3s, but try to work it inside via the pass to the high post (would love to see the coaches slide him into the high post where he can catch, turn, face and shoot) or along the baseline with Henson cutting to the rim (or points above). You can usually get an open 3 anytime you want against a zone, but our youthfulness has shown at times by taking the quick 3.

    Of course, if we get stops by forcing TOs or rebounding (which should both be very possible against this Miami team), we could get out and run, making the zone a moot point.

  • NativeMTNHeel

    ^^^I prefer KenPom’s predictions , aside from losing to Dook in the last ACC game, which RTRPI has us winning.


  • BoyWilliams

    Time to drop some dimes, KMarsh. Game 2 of the “Butta is Betta” Era!

  • Asheville Heel

    Starting Zeller in the high post is a great way to attack the zone with his foul line shot and also pulls their big guy out higher. Unless he’s really quick a few Zeller makes could open the way for the give and go and let Henson have more room to roam the baseline.

  • scl11

    Is it a Light or a Train at the end of the tunnel, we’ll find out tonight

  • nativeheel

    I see a bright light and no train! ANY team that NCSU can beat we should be able to beat! Go Heels!!

  • 850inExile aka UNC RAJ

    We should be able to beat any team Kennesaw State can beat too. There are reasons to be nervous.

  • 40yrheel

    malcom grant, over/under 30 points?

  • gregrustin

    i like butta running the show. i dont see us coming out flat and getting way behind early like in past losses. i wish lmac hadnt got hurt so he would have started. roy is slow to change and if anything happens to make him rethink things….he always REthinks.

  • NativeMTNHeel

    ^^^True, but Shumpert is pretty good. When he has someone else contributing (Rice Jr. vs UNC, Oliver vs VPI), GT isn’t too shabby.


    Anyhow, I dread having to listen to the daRn PA system in Miami. Let’s hope the team can shut it up! It’d be nice to get not only a road win, but a road blow out!

    Butta is betta!


  • makeitWayne22

    Free Reggie……. That is all

  • uncgirl50

    Games after we have transportation problems never go our way. Hopefully that won’t be true for this one.