ACC Basketball

ACC Tournament, Round Two: Miami vs. North Carolina State

AP Photo/Gerry Broome

AP Photo/Gerry Broome


The (10) Miami Hurricanes are coming off a round one 57-53 victory over Virginia Tech. The game was about as pretty as a Lamar Odom sex tape, as the Canes tried to shoot over the Hokies zone throughout. In the end though, Davon Reed drained enough bombs (14 points, 4-7 from three) and Erick Swoope continued his “wait, who is that guy?” play (14 points, 5-8 from the floor, plus a couple Sportscenter worthy dunks).

The Canes have now won five of seven, including one win over their next opponent, North Carolina State. The Wolfpack have won eight of 13, thanks in large part to ACC player of the year, T.J. Warren. The sophomore is averaging 24.8 points per game and recently has been scoring like he is playing NBA Live on rookie level, breaking 40 in back-to-back games.

Of course, the problem for North Carolina State is, when they’ve faced tougher competition, they learn quickly that you can’t be just a one-man team. Someone has to step up and too often, someone doesn’t. Anthony “Cat” Barber has some solid skills, but not the shooting percentage, thus Ralston Turner is the only other player to crack double figures in points (10.0) and no contributor has shot better than 37% from deep.

PREVIOUS MATCH UPS: N.C. State beat Miami, 56-55. Miami beat N.C. State
Down in Coral Gables, the Wolfpack pulled out a one-point win on February 8. T.J. Warren was the man, scoring 27 points, 19 of which came in the second half. Thanks to Rion Browns 20 points, the Hurricanes had a chance to tie at the end, but Raphael Akpejiori missed the second of two free throws in the final seconds.

In the rematch three weeks later, after trailing for most of the first half, the Hurricanes pulled away in the second, with four players scoring 15 or more points. T.J. Warren did score 20 points, but he needed 18 shots to do it.

A lot of people are predicting N.C. State to not only advance, but send Syracuse back to New York unhappy. I’m going to be different. Yes, the Hurricanes are a terrible shooting team. If every missed shot by Miami cured someone’s cancer, the world would be a much better place. What I like about them is, they do the little things that matter (rebound, force turnovers, block shots, etc.) and on any given night, any player could be the guy who leads them in scoring. Look for Jim Larranaga to throw a box-and-one at T.J. Warren or stick with the 2-3 zone and dare a very young team that can’t hit threes to beat them with the three.

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