Where: Bank United Center, Coral Gables, FL
When: Sunday, February 15th, 7:45 PM
TV: Fox Sports
Livestats: SCACC Hoops
Records: UNC 22-2, 8-2 ACC; Miami 15-8, 4-6 ACC
This is what Admiral Ackbar thinks of this game:
Coming off a huge win that expended a lot of physical and emotional energy is a red flag to begin with. Take a team with that going on, put them on the road against a team with a hot shooting guard badly in need of a signature win and you have a full blown Trap Game of epic proportions. This game is dangerous for the Heels more so on the basis of Miami's need to keep themselves relevant in the ACC standings which by extension keeps them on the board in that conference room in Indianapolis. A 4-7 Miami team would need to win their final five games to post 9-7 in the league. Three of those five are on the road(FSU, UVa, GT) while facing BC and NCSU at home. Not exactly a stretch that worries you but heading into it knowing you could drop one and still make 9-7 is more comforting. In short the Heels will face a fired up Miami team who also got an eight day break after losing at Duke.
The advantage UNC carries in this one rests on the fact they have beaten Miami once and have some inclination on how to do that again. The win over the Hurricanes in Chapel Hill was keyed by Ty Lawson's defense on the ball and Wayne Ellington shooting the basketball like his jersey was on fire. If you also consider Ellington, Danny Green and Tyler Hansbrough had fairly average performances at Duke, it is easy to see where they might show up huge in this one. The lynch pin of the whole operation still lies with Lawson. Was the Lawson we saw in the 2nd half versus Duke the Lawson we see from here on out or do we see him back off again? I am leaning towards more of the Duke game Lawson which actually was similar to the Miami game Lawson a few weeks back. If he can play well, this tasks is a lot easier.
Of the six games left, this one stands as possibly the most difficult one left. Depending on what happens earlier in the day the Heels could be looking at a win giving them a stranglehold on the top spot. Duke could very well drop one at BC and since the Heels own the tiebreaker with Clemson, UNC could find itself ahead by two full games for all intents and purposes opening the path for a 3rd straight ACC Regular Season Championship. Even more important than that is the need for this team to continue to figure things out. I think they are very close and as we move down the stretch it would be nice to see this team begin ramping up their play in anticipation of the big run for the title.
UNC 88 Miami 79