Date: Wednesday, February 18
TV: RSN (Check your local listings)
Virginia Tech goes on the road tonight to take on a solid Miami team that is fighting for an NCAA Tournament spot. The Canes are 16-9 overall and 6-6 in the ACC.
Miami is desperately seeking wins that would put them over the hump in terms of the NCAA Tournament. Right now they are on the outside looking in, so I expect them to give their best effort tonight against Virginia Tech.
The Canes are a beatable team. They lost at home to a bad Georgia Tech team by 20, and Boston College took them to double overtime over the weekend. On the other hand, they also blew out Duke in Cameron Indoor Stadium and took UVA to overtime. They are a very capable basketball team.
Miami doesn’t list a starting lineup from their game notes, but here was their starting five in thier last game…
G Angel Rodriguez (5-11, 180, r-Jr.): 12.7 ppg, 109 assists, 48 steals. Rodriguez is one of the most underrated guards in the ACC. His assists and steals numbers are very impressive.
G James Palmer (6-5, 200, Fr.): 4 ppg, 1.4 rpg. The BC game was Palmer’s first start of the season, and I think it’s unlikely that he starts again against the Hokies.
G Sheldon McClellan (6-5, 205, r-Jr.): 14.6 ppg, 5 rpg, 50 assists. McClellan leads Miami in scoring. He is a 37.1% three-point shooter, and overall is 51% from the field. He will be a tough matchup for Tech.
G Davon Reed (6-6, 208, So.): 7.4 ppg, 3.1 rpg. Reed is a scorching hot 53.3% from three-point range.
C Tonye Jekeri (7-0, 244, Jr.): 8.2 ppg, 10.2 rpg. Jekeri is one of the top rebounders in the ACC, and he’s also blocked 41 shots. He will likely present a lot of problems for the Hokies.
Manu Lacomte (5-11, 170, So.) could also start the game for Miami. He played a lot of minutes a year ago, and has started 15 of his team’s 25 games this season. He averages 8.4 ppg and shoots 44.4% from three-point range.
Virginia Tech and Miami are very similar teams. Both teams play four guards almost all the time, and both teams have a number of really good three-point shooters. However, there are two key differences…
1: Miami has much more experience.
2: Miami has a legit ACC big man.
Those are the two main reasons why Miami is 16-9 and Virginia Tech is 10-15.
Here are the advanced stats…
Offensive efficiency: VT #189, Miami #65
Defensive efficiency: VT #209, Miami #111
Rebounding rate: VT #336, Miami #209
Turnovers per Possession: VT #154, Miami #18
Opp. Turnovers per Possession: VT #127, Miami #252
The Hokies only hold the advantage in one of those categories. Miami is pretty efficient on the offensive end, and they don’t turn the ball over.
On the other hand, Miami is one of the worst rebounding teams in the ACC, so perhaps Tech’s disadvantage on the glass won’t be as large as usual. If the Hokies can break even in rebounds and catch a hot shooting night, they could potentially pull the upset.