USA TODAY Sports
Going into February, this team sat at 4-4 in ACC play, and I thought that a .500 conference record was a legitimate goal for us. But after losing to a bad BC team and getting thwomped by Virginia, we were in free fall. We are now one game and one loss away from finishing 5-13 after starting out at 4-4.
Right now, with the way we're playing, we look like the worst team in the ACC. But we aren't the only ones that are struggling down the stretch. Miami, too, has hit a rough patch of late. The Canes came into the last matchup with the Tigers with a 12-0 conference mark, but have lost three of five games since, including losses at Wake (ouch) and at home against Georgia Tech (bigger ouch).
Due to Miami's recent struggles, I'm actually more confident about our chances in this one than I was before we lost to BC. Granted, our chances have gone up from about 1 in 50 to 1 in 20, so we're still big-time underdogs, but when you've lost 8 of 9, you take what you can get.
There's a chance that K.J. McDaniels returns from his injury to play in this one, which would obviously be a huge help. But even with K.J. in the lineup, we still face a huge uphill battle, as Larranaga's crew should be fired up. Miami needs this win to assure themselves an outright regular season ACC championship (the Hurricanes are co-champs with Duke if they lose to us and Duke manages to knock off UNC). Also, its sure to be a very emotional senior day, as five of their top six scorers will be playing their final game at the Bank United Center.
Here's what he had to say the last time these two teams got together. Shane Larkin's outside shooting has fallen off a bit lately, as he's converted just two of ten attempts from 3 in his last two games, but he's still a formidable threat from deep, and is still shooting 40% for the season. In the frontcourt, Devin Booker and Milton Jennings will have to deal with Miami's size and shot-blocking ability inside. Miami has recorded at least 5 blocks in four of their last five games, with Julian Gamble (6-10, 290; 1.9 blocks per game) and Kenny Kadjii (6-11, 240; 1.4 blocks per game) the leaders in the clubhouse.
The game tips at 2:30 on the ACC network (ABC in the Upstate).