Miami-UNC Preview: Revenge game for the Tar Heels?

Miami-UNC Preview: Revenge game for the Tar Heels?

Paul Austria
After a tumultuous season in which UM basketball fans saw the amazing potential of the team at times as well as the downright awful side of the team, the Canes look to make some noise in the ACC tournament this week. Miami claimed the 3-seed in the tournament and has been blessed with a double bye, so they were not in action on Tuesday and Wednesday as they waited to see who would make it out of their bottom quarter of the bracket between Syracuse, Wake Forest, and North Carolina. On Tuesday, 11-seeded Syracuse played 14-seed Wake Forest and won 73-64, so they went on to face 6-seed North Carolina (whom had a bye) on Wednesday. The favored Tar Heels took care of business against Syracuse in a very one-sided game, so now they face a tough Canes team they are very familiar with. Just in case short-term memory is still rampant these days, UNC faced Miami on their senior day in Chapel Hill just NINE days ago in one of the most thrilling finishes of the college basketball season. UNC point guard Joel Berry tied the game with 4.1 seconds left, only for Miami’s Ja’Quan Newton to take the ensuing inbound and dribble his way to just past half court and nail a 40-foot cold-blooded dagger to give the Canes the victory. Come Thursday, Berry and the Heels will definitely have revenge on their minds as they get another crack at Miami in Brooklyn.

Here’s a little synopsis on North Carolina: Roy Williams. The man needs no introduction as he’s already in the basketball of fame. His team, led by a pair of 1st team All-ACC players in Joel Berry and Luke Maye, have had a fairly good season. Berry has done a great job being the go-to scorer for the Heels this season as he averaged 17 points/game while Maye has been a double-double machine, averaging the same amount of points while adding 10.1 rebounds/game on top of that. Although they ended the season on a somewhat sour note with consecutive losses to Miami and Duke, they currently boast a 23-9 record while going 11-7 in conference play and finishing the regular season ranked #12 in the AP Top 25 poll. The biggest keys for North Carolina later tonight will be defense and turnovers. North Carolina’s offense is usually a sure thing so that is the least of their worries. However, Miami shot 54% against North Carolina in their matchup last week and scored 91 points on that defense. Granted, the Heels did bounce back in their next game and held Duke to just 31% shooting in the first half, but then allowed them to shoot 60% in the second half. UNC had a 10-point halftime lead (while shooting just 38%) but were outscored by 20 in the second half. This is important to note because Roy Williams’ excellent defense in past years was a crucial ingredient to them making their long runs into the NCAA tournament, including their trip to the title game last season. The Tar Heels can also put themselves in a better position to win, especially against a team like Miami when they limit turnovers. Miami forced 13 turnovers in Chapel Hill last week, a lot of those considered uncharacteristic, and scored 20 points off of them.

Miami is still without star guard Bruce Brown but is led by freshman sensation Lonnie Walker (11.6 points/game) and forward Dewan Huell (11.6 points/game and 6.6 rebounds/game). There are two big objectives on the Hurricanes’ list. The first objective would be to control the boards on both ends, most importantly the offensive side. North Carolina is ranked 8th and 18th in the nation for offensive and defensive rebounds respectively, and they were able to grab 11 offensive rebounds against Miami last week. Big man Dewan Huell will hold part of the duty protecting the glass. Huell has taken a big step in all areas of his game this season and has that long frame and athleticism to grab tough out-of-reach rebounds to limit Luke Maye. Starting G/F Anthony Lawrence (6.6 rebounds/game) will also play a role in securing the boards. The second is to take care of business at the charity stripe. Miami as a team shot 67% from the free-throw line this season, which ranks at 315th in the entire nation and has cost Miami a few close games this season. They did themselves a huge favor when they went 12-13 from the line in that close victory last week. Once guys like Chris Lykes, Walker, Newton, and even Huell are able to penetrate and get fouled, it is imperative they execute and knock down free throws to help the team in the latter part of the game if it is indeed close.

The winner of this game will move on to the semifinals on Friday, where they will face the winner of the 7 PM preceeding game between Duke and Notre Dame.

Prediction: Miami's the higher seed in this tournament and although they pulled out a tough one the last time these teams met, North Carolina is still a veteran team that will probably make the necessary adjustments to make sure there is not a repeat. I expect the Heels to win by 8-10 points and advance to the semifinals of the ACC Tournament as they chase their 2nd ACC title in the past three years. It won't be the end of the world but Miami will still have great momentum riding into the big dance.

Comments (200)

I can’t see UNC winning this game. Our front line is better than there’s and our Guards match up well with there’s if not better beside Berry his will to win is off the charts to me. UNC has no rim protectors, they’re not the same UNC from last year. I have opposite of you we win by 8 to 10pts.
Definitely a revenge game against a great coach. We will need to have our $hit together early and never let off the gas. Roy will definitely try to slow us down and make us be a half court team. I would and I am no Roy Williams. I think we need to have 15+20 in the game together most of the time with Sam spelling both so we always have 2 bigs. Newt maybe the key. If (big if) he can penetrate and get the call AND make the free throws he gets PT. If not just sit him he has no value. Gonna be tough we need EVERY free throw and have to shoot the lights out
Pretty much follow the blueprint from the last time we played them. They may want blood but we need to be prepared to punch back. Some OBVIOUS things stand out...

1. It would be great if we could keep them off the 3PTL. If we're going to let them shoot 3s, especially WIDE OPEN ones, they're going to score a ton of points. This is why UNC came back against us.

UNC has 9 losses this season; they averaged 8 3PTs made (this includes the 13 they hit against us and 1 they hit against MSU) in those games.

The goal should be less than 10.

2. They played yesterday, so it is important to not let them get an early lead. In addition, I expect us to come out flat. If we can keep it close at around the 10 minute mark in the first half, I like our chances. We really should try to run when we're on offense. Get down the court, don't let them set and get to the basket. Lykes is the guy to do this. Walker needs to take advantage as well.

3. Hit your FTs. Especially if UNC is playing sloppy because they're tired from yesterday. They may give us more opportunities at the FTL due to said sloppy play.

4. The big men (Huell and Izundu). Last time against UNC, they combined for 26 Points and 13 Rebounds. I don't expect this today. With that said, if we can get 20 and 10 from them (combined), it would be tremendous.
UNC is the best pre-tournament, 9 loss team in the history of college basketball.....obviously
I would love to see us go right at UNC early and try to establish an offensive presence down low -- both by posting up, and through dribble penetration to free up our bigs. This should include Huell, Izundu, and Amp, who is far overdue for another break-out game. As stated above, we need to rack up a considerable point total against UNC, since we are unlikely to step up our defense sufficiently to hold them under 80. I also agree with Consigliere that we need to push the pace and run when we can, and hopefully convert on the transition.

I thought Syracuse made a critical mistake last night in not attacking the UNC defense at all, and instead settling for 3's that were often rushed with no time left on the shot clock. You do that a few times against the Heels, and you can quickly be down double digits -- as Cuse showed last night.
Definitely a revenge game against a great coach. We will need to have our $hit together early and never let off the gas. Roy will definitely try to slow us down and make us be a half court team. I would and I am no Roy Williams. I think we need to have 15+20 in the game together most of the time with Sam spelling both so we always have 2 bigs. Newt maybe the key. If (big if) he can penetrate and get the call AND make the free throws he gets PT. If not just sit him he has no value. Gonna be tough we need EVERY free throw and have to shoot the lights out

Newt has been playing great recently, and has clearly been a key component in our win streak. However, one thing that drives me crazy about Newt is his inability/refusal (not sure which one it is) to use the ball screen to either dribble penetrate or hit the screener on the "roll". Instead, Newton almost always keeps his dribble, but doesn't penetrate or gain any real advantage from the ball screen. Moreover, ineffective ball screens eat up critical time from the shot clock. If Newton can figure out how to utilize the ball screen to his advantage, it would result in a significant improvement in our half-court sets.
I don't see Newt learning any new tricks at this point. He has one thing and one thing only to offer. That is getting to the next level against the 2-3.

Then he needs favorable refs and has to make his FT's. It can and has happened but if he doesn't get the calls early I would sit him ad play Lonnie at the 2 with CL at the one for 30 minutes or more. i would rather have DJ/Walker/Amp bring up the ball then Newt if he is not getting the cals
This will be a very tough game to win. I care more about how we play tonight as opposed to the result. We need to move the ball on offense and establish a rhythm. The reason we go on such long scoring droughts is because we don't move the ball around and this leads to more challenging shots for us. If we want to make a run in the NCAA tourney, we have to limit these scoring droughts and make free throws.
Attack the rim, setting up jumpers as results of getting the ball to Huell/Izundu down low and dribble penetration and not out of desperation

Hit FTs

Play with energy, avoid disappearing for stretches. Carolina will eat you alive otherwise

Let's do this
I definitely think we can beat UNC tonight. But can we beat the refs?

At halftime last night UNC had shot 11 free throws to 2 for Syracuse. The refs helped them in their second half comeback against us almost as much as Berry's threes.

Hope Laranaga calls the refs out early if they become obvious.
We beat them at their place with them having normal rest, but can't beat them on a neutral court with them having zero rest? I don't get it. If we have a team that is primed to make a serious NCAAT run, this is a very winnable game. If we have a team that is just happy to be in the field of 68, sure write this off as a loss because it's UNC, and we can't possibly beat them twice in a row.
UNC is the best pre-tournament, 9 loss team in the history of college basketball.....obviously

Roy Williams is the best post season coach currently coaching. He is the last guy you want to go against in the post season. That said I think we could win tonight since UNCs starters played a lot of minutes yesterday and may be a little tired.
Throw the damn towel! Stop the game! Turn the machines back on! All the humanity!

Playing disc golf this morning on a course a guy built on his cattle ranch. 8th hole, the Tee Sign was an old toilet (he used junk for signs on all holes). I tee off (backhand with a Destroyer against the wind) and my Canes hat flies off, and lands right on the fucking toilet! Thats bad juju!

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