TV: The ACC Network and/or ESPN2
Virginia Tech is 2-0 against Miami this season and 0-16 against the rest of the ACC. Fortunately, the Hokies have drawn the Hurricanes as their first opponent in the 2014 ACC Tournament. They’ll be hoping to use the matchup advantage to advance to the second round.
Though the Hokies beat Miami twice in the regular season, both games were very different. The Hokies had a healthy team for the first meeting in December, but they still trailed by 13 points in the second half. However, they stormed back over the final minutes to force overtime, and they eventually won the game 61-60 when Donnavan Kirk missed a shot with a second left on the clock. At that point, the Hokies were 1-0 and all alone in first place of the ACC.
The second win came on February 15 in Cassell Coliseum. Tech beat Miami 51-45 in an uneventful game. The Hurricanes began the game by shooting 6-of-41 from the field. Despite that horrendous shooting performance, the Hokies still found themselves up by just four points down the stretch. However, Devin Wilson was able to close the game out with free throws down the stretch.
Despite the two losses to the Hokies, Miami is still the #10 seed in the ACC Tournament. They finished the season with a 16-15 record, and went 7-11 in ACC play. Here are their seven conference wins:
63-57 at UNC
56-42 at Georgia Tech
77-73 at Florida State
71-64 vs. Notre Dame
69-42 vs. Boston College
85-70 at NC State
69-56 vs. Wake Forest
The Canes have won four of their last six games, and they are playing their best basketball of the season right now.
Here’s a look at the offensive and defensive efficiency ratings for both teams.
Offensive efficiency: Miami #190, Virginia Tech #296
Defensive efficiency: Miami #79, Virginia Tech #156
Here’s how they match up in Ken Pomeroy’s adjusted offensive and defensive ratings.
Offense: Miami #90, Virginia Tech #289
Defense: Miami #63, Virginia Tech #87
Overall, Pomeroy ranks Miami #64 and Virginia Tech #91. The Hokies have improved defensively quite a bit since last season, but offensively they are among the worst teams in the history of the ACC. Tech averaged one point per possession in just one ACC game this year. No team in league history had done that less than twice, and the fact that teams now play an 18-game conference schedule makes it even worse.
If the Hokies lose to Miami on Wednesday, they would finish the season with only nine wins overall. How many other ACC teams have finished with fewer than 10 wins in recent years? Not many.
2011-12 Boston College: 9 wins
2010-11 Wake Forest: 8 wins
2001-02 North Carolina: 8 wins
2000-01 Florida State: 9 wins
1996-97 Georgia Tech: 9 wins
1992-93 NC State: 8 wins
If the Hokies don’t beat Miami on Wednesday, they’ll be just the sixth ACC team to finish with fewer than 10 wins over the last 20 years. That’s not a list anyone should strive to be on, but if the Hokies don’t play a good game on Wednesday they are likely headed in that direction. Despite the two wins over Miami this year, the Hurricanes still proved to be the better team throughout the course of the season.
Will Miami shoot 6-of-41 to start the game as they did in Cassell Coliseum last month? Probably not. Tech is going to have to play better offensively this time around. The Hokies are averaging just 52.9 points over their last nine games, and their highest-scoring game in that span has been 64 points against NC State.
If Tech does come out on top, they’ll face NC State on Thursday at 7pm.