Preview: UNC vs. Miami


 

After rolling over Boston College in its first ACC contest of the season, UNC faces the ever-annoying Miami Hurricanes in a late game tonight in Chapel Hill. This will conclude the Heels truly-worthy-of-the-distinction epic homestand. UNC has been in Chapel Hill since December 6, and is on the road for its next two games.

  • UNC will have its hands full with Durand Scott, left, and Malcolm Grant, right. This is the third season in which these two have been trolled the backcourt together and one of their favorite opponents is UNC. The Heels have a problem guarding opposing guards, especially explosive ones, and these two can be described as such. They are one and two on the team in scoring, both over 13 ppg. Grant is the better shooter, but Scott is better at getting to the basket, and subsequently, the free throw line. Neither dish the ball particularly well, or rebound for their size, but its obvious that they are dangerous.
  • Big man Reggie Johnson missed action early in the season because of a lingering leg injury, but is back at it now. In five games this season, Johnson is averaging 10 points and 7 rebounds. Johnson will only strengthen and he may see more than the 27 minutes he’s been averaging against the very good UNC team.
  • While we’re on Johnson, it should be mentioned that he is one of four NC natives on the Hurricanes roster. Johnson is from Winston-Salem and fellow big man Julian Gamble, who is sitting out this season with an ACL injury, is from Durham. Both are/were key contributors to the team and you know Johnson loves to play against his home state team. If you remember, Jimmy Graham, yes that Jimmy Graham, is a Goldsboro native and used to play basketball for Miami before switching to football. Last we heard, he was doing ok.
  • In Gamble and Johnson’s early absence, redshirt sophomore Kenny Kadji has been effective. The 6’11” forward is scoring almost 11 a game to go with about 6 rebounds. He also has 24 blocks on the season. That’s 27 less than what John Henson has, but still.
  • Miami is in its first year under head coach Jim Larranaga. Larranaga has been a head coach for almost 30 years and most recently led George Mason to its successes, including that improbable NCAA tourney run a couple years back. So, he’s a pretty good coach.
  • This is how Miami ranks nationally: Scoring, 110th; Rebounds per Game, 202nd; Assists per Game, 268th; Field Goal Percentage, 156th. Out of their five losses, only an overtime loss at Ole Miss can be considered bad. And it wasn’t really that bad. Miami did beat Rutgers early and beat a pesky App State by 30. UNC won over App by about half that at home.
  • This is how UNC ranks nationally: Scoring, 1st; Rebounds per Game, 1st; Assists per Game, 3rd; Field Goal Percentage, 20th.
Prediction: UNC 84, Miami 72