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Men's Basketball

Miami vs Virginia Preview

AP Photo

In the final home game of the 2020-21 season, Virginia will host the Miami Hurricanes on Monday night at 6 PM Eastern Time, televised on ACC Network.  It’s a special night for Wahoo seniors Jay Huff, Sam Hauser, Tomas Woldetensae, and Austin Katstra.  

What Miami has done this season

Miami enters the contest with a 7-15 overall record.  They sit in last place in the ACC at 3-14.  Injuries have plagued them.  Star senior Chris Lykes (15.5 ppg) only appeared in two games.  Sophomore guard Harlond Beverly (6.7 ppg) and heralded freshman Earl Timberlake (9.3 ppg) are both ruled out for the season.  There was also a mid-season defection when freshman Matt Cross (6.9 pp) transferred to Louisville.  

While they’ve had a disappointing season with a shortened roster, the Hurricanes have still proven to be dangerous on occasion.  Two of their ACC victories have been over Duke and Louisville.  There’s still talent in the lineup.  They’re capable of jumping up to bite a good team on a given day.  

Breaking Down Miami

It all starts with sophomore guard Isaiah Wong (17.8 ppg) for the Hurricanes.  He’s had to become a volume scorer in the absence of Lykes.  It’s been a true breakout season for him, raising his efficiency across the board on much heavier usage.  In the last two games, he’s gone for 29 and 28 points.  Senior guards Kameron McGusty (11.5 ppg) and Elijah Olaniyi (11.3 ppg) are the other double digit scorers.  

Head Coach Jim Larranaga doesn’t have many options left.  He’ll go seven deep while predominantly riding his starting five.  It’s a pretty traditional lineup.  Athletic four-man Anthony Walker (9.2 ppg) and seven-footer Nysier Brooks (6.2 ppg) are the starters up front.  

Statistically, there aren’t many positives to point to.  They’re near the bottom of the ACC in nearly every major category, as you’d expect given their record.  Their guards are all shot creators.  That’s really what they depend on, for better or worse.  Wong in particular can hit tough shots.  There’s a lot of hero ball involved in their quality wins.  One thing to watch for is they’re allowing a league-worst 39% on opponent’s 3-point attempts.  Virginia, of course, is one of the best teams in the country from behind the arc.  

Predictions

Miami will win if

They’ll need a heroic performance from their guards, Wong in particular.  And to play with discipline on the defensive end, where effort has sometimes been lacking. 

Virginia will win if

They come out focused with good energy for 40 minutes, as you’d expect on senior day.  This is a great opportunity for the Hoos to regain their swagger.  

Score Prediction  Virginia 68 Miami 52

(Image: Associated Press)

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