Date/Time: March 13th, 2019 / 2 PM
Site: Spectrum Center, Charlotte, NC
Radio: Virginia Tech IMG Sports Network
Talent: Jon Laaser & Mike Burnop
Talent: Sean McDonough, Dan Dakich & Maria Taylor
Live Stats: HokieSports.com
Game Notes: Virginia Tech
Sirius: 81 XM: 81 Internet: 81
ACC Game One, Miami Game Three
Buzzketball starts out this afternoon in Charlotte with a familiar foe, a downtrodden Miami team. Miami is coming in off a win over Wake Forest in the first round of the ACC tournament. Prior to that game, they lost by 14 to the Hokies.
There should be a packed house looking to celebrate a Hokies win as Charlotte has the second largest alumni base of any city. A win today would extend the Hokies highest win total in the ACC to 13 wins. This will be the thirty ninth meeting between the Hokies and Hurricanes. Miami leads the all-time series 22-16. The Hurricanes are 3-11 on the road or at Neutral site games this season with those three wins coming during the Wooden Legacy tournament against La Salle and Fresno State and Wake Forest in the first ACC Tournament game.
The Hurricanes are coached by Jim Larranaga, who has been at Miami since 2011. Miami has won at least twenty games in six of his seven seasons, but will not make that this season without winning the ACC tournament and then hoping to get into a post season tournament. Larranaga has taken the Hurricanes to four NCAA tournament berths. He also guided them to an ACC Championship both in the regular season and tournament in 2012-2013. Larranaga is currently 175-96 as head coach of Miami, while 645-430 overall with other coaching stops at George Mason, Bowling Green, and American International.
Defensively, Miami runs three different defensive schemes, primarily playing a high pressure man to man which usually rotates into the Scramble defense which is essentially a man to man defense with some zone trapping techniques utilized and then rounding it out with a curveball they call a 3-2 Disrupting Camouflage Defense which is a high pressure, perimeter zone defense that sags to the middle of the court. The 3-2 Disrupting Camouflage is almost the reverse of the Scramble defense. This defense has players back off their offensive players as if they were going to trap but then they shift into passing lanes rather than close the trap. Against the Hokies the last two contests, Larranaga has mainly relied on his man to man defense, as the Hokies cut the Hurricanes up any time they shifted to zone.
Offensively, the Hurricanes switch between a four out, one in and a three out, two in Motion Offense, based on the personnel on the floor. This season, with a void of talent, the Hurricanes have primarily used the four out, one in. When Miami is in with two bigs, those bigs typically rotate between the top and bottom of the lane to create gaps in the defensive coverage while also opening up opportunities for the guards to drive to the basket. The Hurricanes usually attempt 23 threes per game but this is a game against the Hokies, where everyone seems to add 5-10 attempts. The silver lining is that the Hurricanes are only hitting 34% of their perimeter shots.
Chris Lykes, (#0), 5'7, 160 lbs Sophomore Guard has become the central point of this team and is averaging 16.2 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 3.1 APG and 1.3 SPG. Lykes has been called upon to play almost double the minutes he played last season. He is shooting 41% overall, 32% from outside and 76% from the line.
Anthony Lawrence Jr., (#3) 6'7, 185 Senior Guard comes in averaging 12.5 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 3 APG and 1.2 SPG. He is shooting 35% from outside, 46% overall and at the free throw line, shooting 75%.
Zach Johnson (#5) 6'2, 195 Lbs Senior Guard is a graduate transfer from Florida Gulf Coast. He is averaging 12 PPG, 3 RPG, 2.5 APG, and 1.8 SPG. He is shooting 29% from behind the arc and 39% overall. Also shoots 68% from the line.
Dejan Vasilkevic, (#1) 6'3, 198 Lbs Junior Guard is averaging 11.3 PPG 4.4 RPG and 1.3 APG. So far this season he is shooting 47% inside, 37% from behind the arc and 93% from the line. He is their only reliable perimeter shooter this season.
Anthony Mack, (#13), 6'6, 218 Lbs Freshman Guard is essentially the only reserve guard, seeing about 16 minutes per game while the four starters all play over 31 minutes per contest. He is averaging 2.7 PPG, 1.1 RPG, and 0.8 APG. He shoots 29% from the field and 29% from outside. He also only hits 75% of his free throw attempts.
Ebuka Izundu, (#15) 6'10, 205 Lbs Senior Forward has been forced into a much larger role than his first three seasons called for with the suspension of Hernandez and the injury to Gak. He has essentially doubled his production compared to last year, averaging 11 PPG, 8.8 RPG and 1 APG. He is shooting 65% overall, 33% from the perimeter, and 70% from the line.
Sam Waardenburg, (#21), 6'10, 216 Lbs Sophomore Forward is averaging 5.6 PPG, 3.3 RPG, and 1.2 APG. Waardenburg is shooting 41% inside and 36% outside. He is a 75% free throw shooter.
What to expect from Miami?
The Hurricanes have five of their six primary players average 2 or more fouls per contest. Anyone in foul trouble for the Hurricanes limits their ability to adjust dramatically. This is especially true if Izundu is in trouble as he has been the central player on both ends for the Hurricanes in the two previous matchups.
The surprise performer in the previous game had to be Anthony Lawrence who seemed to find his groove in the second half and finished with a double-double. 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Miami scoring is quite evenly spread across its starting five, then it essentially hits a cliff, as the roster doesn't go much more than six deep. All five starters average double digit scoring though so there really isn't a primary focus point.
In the previous game, the benches made all the difference, where the Hokies shut out the Hurricanes 19-0 in bench scoring.
The Hurricanes have been badly outrebounded in conference play so far.. The Hokies won the last rebounding battle 33-30.
The Hurricanes guards are very adept at creating steals, with four of five starters averaging over a steal per contest. Turnovers could give the Hurricanes a way to keep this game close. In ACC play, they have forced their opponents into almost 13 turnovers per game.
This game's pace could vary dramatically depending on who is on the floor. The Hokies have definitely slowed their pace of play without Justin Robinson but have also improved their passing to find the open shooter. The Hokies just need to remember what got them to where they are now. Shooting the ball proficiently. The Hokies need to find that rhythm of turning energetic defense into a scoring offense today.
The Hokies shot 14 of 26 from deep and 12 of 13 from the free throw line in the last game. Those kind of numbers are going to be tough to replicate so the Hokies will need to find additional ways to keep separation from the Hurricanes.
Hill and Nickiel Alexander Walker need to drive the basketball. This will open up perimeter shooting for Outlaw, Hill and others, which is critical considering the Hurricanes only allow opponents to shoot 33% from outside. This could also create the foul issues that seem to plague the Hurricanes in ACC play.
Blackshear needs to have a big afternoon and body up Izundu to create fouls. Considering the Hurricanes depth issues, getting Izundu in trouble early could create a major void in the Canes defense. The same is true on the other end. Limiting Miami on the offensive glass is a huge plus because of how poorly they have shot the ball this season and how much they have struggled to rebound in ACC play.
One thing to keep in mind going into this game. It is EXTREMELY DIFFICULT to beat the same team three times in a season, especially when they are not a cellar dweller talent wise. Miami is going to look to jump out early and get a lead so they can play from the front. The Hokies need to play the way they are capable of and get this critical win.
Work the Hurricanes inside. Blackshear should touch the ball every possession he is in to keep Miami honest. He has shown the knack for knowing when to drive and shoot and when to kick out so helping him dominate the paint is a major factor in this game.
The Miami bigs have a tendency to get in foul trouble so providing EVERYONE the space and green light to drive (except Outlaw) inside along with Blackshear being able to draw contact down low could force Larranaga out of his game plan. The less of 6'10 and 6'11 that see the floor against the Hokies the better off we are in this contest.
Hokies win 79-67 with Hill and Walker putting on a show and Blackshear closing it out late.