Preview: UNC vs. Miami, ACC Tournament

It’s that time again for the Tar Heels to get dressed in their best for that cocktail party in Greensboro. In the past Ol’ Roy hasn’t been a big fan of the conference tournament, looking ahead to the big dance instead, but after last Saturday’s showdown with Duke, coach sounded a bit more interested in the goings-on this weekend. I believe his words went something along the lines of, “I still think it’s a big cocktail party, but goshdarnit, we’re gonna’ go out and try to win this thing.”

Standing in their way are a pesky Hurricanes team that almost knocked off the Heels in Coral Gables. Miami already came back from a statistically impossible situation, down by eight with :46 left, to beat Virginia in the opening round games. But Miami is also the first time we saw Harrison Barnes truly morph into Black Falcon, hitting a 3 with six seconds left to propel the Heels to victory. Of course, Barnes and the Heels have kept the streak going and have since been on a tear. So, who has the real momentum?

  • UNC did win these teams’ only meeting during the regular season, but Miami is nothing to scoff at. Five players scored in double-digits for Miami, led by the backcourt of Durand Scott, right, and Malcolm Grant. Scott was 4-of-5 from behind the arc and can also contribute steals and assists. You also can’t forget how Scott hung a big 29 on UNC as a frosh last season in a losing effort.
  • Miami as a team connected on 13 3-point attempts. There’s something that has hurt the Heels in the past.
  • The Hurricanes have a penchant for playing close games. UNC has the tendency to play at their opponents level. Dictating the pace and style of play will decide how this game plays out. If UNC can move the ball around like they have been, it could be an easy W. If Miami can grind things out, it could be another BC.
  • Fun stat comparisons: UNC leads the nation in rebounding, Miami is 100 spots behind. UNC ranks 20th in points scored per game, 79 spots ahead of Miami. UNC ranks 27th in assists per game with 15.5, Miami ranks 263rd, with four less a game.

Even K had to admit that the front court duo of John Henson and Tyler Zeller may be the best in the country. Kendall Marshall and Harrison Barnes are playing great ball. Roy Williams was serious when he said he wanted to try to win this thing. The way the Boys are playing, I don’t think anybody wants to be matched-up with them.

Prediction: UNC 82, Miami 69