Game Preview: ACC Tournament Quarterfinals

I have no idea why the ibis needs performance gloves. Or why it looks more like a duck than Oregon's mascot.

Carolina has an opponent for tomorrow's ACC tournament game, but it didn't look like the other team was particularly eager to advance. Miami faced Virginia in the first game today, and for the first 39 minutes made only sixteen shots from the field; their sub-30% shooting left them down 10 with 42 seconds remaining and essentially toast. And then Virginia decided to give the game back.

After a Miami three cut the lead to seven, Sammy Zeglinski missed two free throws. This will become a theme. After Malcolm Grant hit a three to make the lead four, Zeglinski turned the ball over. One dunk later, the lead is two; there's 15 seconds left. Virginia comes out of a timeout and has the ball stolen by Durand Scott who scores and is fouled. It's a tie game. Scott misses his free throw, but Zeglinski falls out of bounds fighting for the rebound. With another Virginia player. Miami's chance to win is foiled by a Virginia steal, who promptly have it stolen back by Miami, but the desperation three doesn't go. Miami doesn't miss a shot in overtime though, which is why they'll be facing the Heels while Virginia fans are left to deal with the aftermath of the biggest ACC comeback since 1974.

The Hurricanes did a decent job recovering from a horrible 1-6 start in ACC play. Some of that was an easier schedule; Miami has only two wins over teams with winning conference records, both coming against Boston College. They played Carolina exceptionally close in their only meeting, as the Heels only escaped with some stellar play from Harrison Barnes down the stretch, but UNC is much improved since January.

To have a better game against the Hurricanes this time around, Carolina is first going to have to stop Reggie Johnson, who had entirely too many rebounds in their last meeting. He also kept Tyler Zeller in foul trouble and off the court. The rest of Miami's offense was primarily three point shooting. Malcolm Grant's the biggest threat here, but Durand Scott and Adrian Thomas also had good games against UNC. The good news is Carolina has one of the better three point defenses in the ACC, although it's been rather lackluster in conference play. No one has approached the success Miami had from behind the arc in the eleven games since.

This is a game UNC should win easily. While they've played down to their level of competition a little to often this year, at this stage I assume we're past that. This team is playing for an outside shot at a number one seed – I don't think they'll get it, or that it'll even be in their best interests to do so, but still – they'll advance, like every top seed in the ACC Tournament outside of N.C. State does. Hopefully it will be an easy afternoon.

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