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Game Preview: #15 UNC at Miami

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

North Carolina at Miami, 2:00 PM, CBS

The Tar Heels will look to bounce back from the worst offensive outing of the season at Miami. The Tar Heels enter the game in a pitch battle for the final double-bye spot in the ACC Tournament and a loss to the Hurricanes could put UNC in danger of being seeded as low as #8 in the ACC Tournament.

The loss on Tuesday night coming on the heels of a string of solid offensive games continues to make this team an enigma. There are days where the offensive functions well but others were the bottom falls out. This is reflected in the efficiency numbers and generally rooted in the lack of perimeter shooting. UNC's ability to hit threes on a consistent basis means if the interior game isn't working and Marcus Paige is bottled up there aren't really any options left. That was the case on Tuesday versus NC State.

Along those lines Miami is a fairly tough match-up. Hurricane coach Jim Larranaga has had Roy Williams number lately with four straight wins over the Tar Heels. Last season's loss in Chapel Hill was similar to what happened on Tuesday night against NC State. The Hurricanes uses a zone defense, milked the clock to shorten the game and reduced the offensive opportunities for the Tar Heels. UNC had a poor offensive game(86.5 OE) despite holding the Hurricanes to an OE of 95.6 and forcing a turnover on almost 20% of Miami possessions. Miami's 285th ranked tempo would seem to indicate a similar game plan is in the offing.

On the offensive end, Miami has three point shooters, enough to give the Tar Heels trouble if PG Angel Rodriguez can break down the defense. Marcus Paige likely draws that assignment with J.P. Tokoto being tasked to guard Sheldon McClellan. McClellan is averaging 15.0 ppg, hitting 39% of his threes and in 2013 while playing at Texas scored 18 points on the Tar Heels in Chapel Hill hitting 10-13 free throws. On the interior, Tonye Jekiri is one of the better rebounders UNC has faced this season averaging 10.6 per game with solid rebounding rates on both ends.

If there is any consistency to UNC's inconsistency then the Tar Heels will bounce back today. This game isn't a must win but at some point this team needs to figure out what it is and how best to make a late season run in the tradition of other Roy Williams' teams.

UNC 68 Miami 66