Miami-Florida (10-3) at North Carolina (10-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 10, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Dean E. Smith Center (21,750) -- Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Television: ESPN. Home Record: Miami 6-0, UNC 7-0. Away Record: Miami 4-1, UNC 1-3. Neutral Record: Miami 0-2, UNC 2-1. Conference Record: Miami 1-0, UNC 0-1. Series Record: North Carolina leads, 18-2.
GAME NOTES: The North Carolina Tar Heels are still in search of their first ACC victory, as they play host to the Miami-Florida Hurricanes on Thursday night at the Smith Center.
Roy Williams' team has certainly experienced highs and lows this season, as the Tar Heels racked up 10 wins prior to league play. However, the losses are perhaps more telling, as UNC's toughest competition has resulted in losses to Butler, Indiana, Texas and most recently, a 61-52 setback to the Virginia Cavaliers in the team's ACC opener last Sunday.
Jim Larranaga's Hurricanes are also sitting with 10 wins thus far. Miami comes into this contest with a two-game win streak in tow, opening league play last weekend with a 62-49 road win at Georgia Tech on Saturday. The 'Canes have been strong away from home this year, with wins in four of five true road tilts. The Hurricanes are seeking their first 2-0 start to ACC play since joining the league in 2004-05.
North Carolina has dominated this series, winning 18 of the total 20 meetings, dating back to the 1949-50 campaign.
Miami has used stifling defensive play to fuel its success this season. The Hurricanes are holding foes to a mere 59.2 ppg, holding them well under 40 percent shooting overall (.373). Offensively, Miami has been adequate, netting 68.8 ppg on a .451 shooting, especially since the team has been without Reggie Johnson (12.6 ppg, 10.1 rpg) of late. Durand Scott has been a picture of consistency, leading the team in scoring at 14.7 ppg. Scott has scored at least 15 points in 12 of the 14 games this season. Shane Larkin is next in line at 12.6 ppg, followed by Kenny Kadji (11.9 ppg, 7.5 rpg).
The Hurricanes used a strong game by Rion Brown off the bench to knock off a tough Georgia Tech team in the ACC opener for both programs. Brown converted 9-of-11 shots from the floor, including four 3-pointers, finishing with 22 points in just 23 minutes of work. Kadji was able to balance things out with a strong performance down low, posting a double-double with 11 points and 14 rebounds.
The Tar Heels were held to a season-low 52 points by a Virginia squad that has done that to a lot of foes this season. Reggie Bullock was responsible for a good portion of the scoring with 22 points. James Michael McAdoo added 10 points in the loss, as UNC shot just .379 from the floor overall, including a 5-of-17 effort from behind the arc (.294).
The lack of scoring was a bit of an anomaly, as North Carolina comes into this contest averaging 81.4 ppg, good for ninth nationally. The team has benefited from good ball movement as well, ranking fourth nationally in assists per game (18.7). McAdoo was given star status prior to the season and has shown flashes of being just that, but has also shown weaknesses along the way. Still, the sophomore forward leads the team in both scoring (14.5 ppg) and rebounding (8.2 rpg). Bullock is next in the scoring column (13.8 ppg), shooting an impressive .493 from 3-point range (sixth nationally). P.J. Hairston rounds out the double-figure scorers (12.1 ppg).
Miami has shown it can win on the road, but doing so in Chapel Hill, even against a North Carolina squad that has shown itself vulnerable, remains a tough task.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: North Carolina 73, Miami-Florida 69
01/10 10:36:22 ET