Miami visits Cassell Coliseum on Saturday hoping to pick up another win to add to their NCAA Tournament resume. The Hurricanes are 19-11 overall with a 9-8 record in the ACC.
Right now, Miami is projected to be just outside the field of 68. They need to not lose to the Hokies on Saturday, and then they need to win a couple of games in the ACC Tournament, and they preferably need to add a quality win or two. In short, they’ll have a lot to play for when they come to Blacksburg tomorrow. They can’t afford a bad loss just eight days before Selection Sunday.
Miami defeated Virginia Tech 76-52 in the first meeting back on February 18. The Hurricanes led just 29-26 at halftime, but began the second half on a big run and dominated the game. The Hokies were outrebounded 40-19, and played poor defense over the final 20 minutes.
11 different players have started for Miami this year, so it’s hard to get a feel for their starting lineup. This is how it looked in their most recent game (67-63 W at Pitt)…
G Manu Lecomte (5-10, 170, So.): The native of Belgium has started 17 games this year. He is averaging 7.8 points, and he’s a 45% three-point shooter.
G Sheldon McClellan (6-5, 205, r-Jr.): McLellan leads Miami at 15.1 points per game, and he’s 38% from the outside. He had 21 points against the Hokies in the first meeting.
G Davon Reed (6-6, 208, So.): Reed averages 7.9 points per game, and he is 29-of-60 from three-point range this year. He scored 19 points in Miami’s recent win over Pitt.
F Ivan Cruz Uceda (6-10, 237, Jr.): The JUCO transfer started against Pitt, but played just nine minutes. He averages 3.9 points and 2.9 rebounds per game. He may start against the Hokies, but the Canes could spend most of the game in a 4-guard lineup.
C Tonye Jekiri (7-0, 244, Jr.): Jekiri isn’t the most skilled offensive player, but he’s an excellent rebounder (10.5 per game) and he’s also blocked 47 shots. Most of his points will come off dunks and offensive rebounds.
Jekiri dominated Tech in the first meeting, with 15 points and 15 rebounds. He was 6-of-7 from the field and most of his shots were not well-contested. It’s tough to play help defense against Miami because their three-point shooters are so good, so this is a particularly tough matchup for the Hokies.
Here’s a look at the efficiency ratings…
Offensive efficiency: VT #188, Miami #67
Defensive efficiency: VT #274, Miami #116
Rebounding rate: VT #340, Miami #191
Turnovers per possession: VT #130, Miami #25
Opp. Turnovers per possession: VT #151, Miami #245
Miami holds the advantage in every single category except for opponent turnovers per possession. Every game preview we write pretty much tells the same story. The Hokies have a big disadvantage when it comes to rebounding and defense, and they’ll need a great shooting night a a nice day in turnover margin to have a chance to win.