Carolina returns home after a 2 week hiatus, as they’ll host Miami in the Smith Center tomorrow afternoon. The last time we saw Carolina, they lost a absolute heartbreaker 79-77 in double overtime to Virginia Tech. It was a game that the Tar Heels were without Cole Anthony, Brandon Robinson, Sterling Manley and Anthony Harris. 4 players played more than 40 minutes, as the team is completely depleted. It was a game that featured the best effort we’ve seen from Carolina all season long, for this team to have a fighting chance it’s going to take that kind of effort every game.
Miami enters the game with a 10-8 ( 2-6 ) record, coming off a road loss to Duke on Tuesday. The Hurricanes though have beaten Pittsburgh who’s beaten Carolina twice this season, and loss in overtime to Florida State so they’ve been competitive. Chris Lykes leads the Canes in scoring at over 15 points per games, Lykes is one of three players that averages double figures scoring. Jim Larranaga is one of the few coaches that knows how to coach against Roy Williams, so his team will be prepared.
It feels like this is the game that Cole Anthony finally makes his returns, and it couldn't come at a better time as the season is on life support. Brandon Robinson should be available, so depth won't be as much as a factor in this game. Hopefully that doesn't lessen the effort Carolina plays with, because they need to play with maximum effort to earn a conference win. Here are three keys to getting Roy Williams that elusive 880th win:
1. Containing Lykes: Lykes has been known to give the Tar Heels problems in his time at Miami. He's a smaller guard, but has the ability to take over a game. Keeping him contained starts with containing the dribble, as his game is built on attacking the rim. Against Virginia Tech, Carolina played it's best man defense ACC play. Hopefully that carries over into the Miami game.
2. Paint Touches: When the offense runs through the post, the Tar Heels can score at a decent rate. In the second half the paint touches were lessened, as you have to give credit to the Hokies, but there were self inflicted wounds by Carolina. Miami has size to compete on the inside, so it'll be a test of who's tougher.
3. Foul Trouble: Even if Anthony and Robinson return, Carolina is still too thin to get into foul trouble. If Armando Bacot would've been able to play more than 29 minutes maybe the result would've been different. Lykes is going to pressure on the defense, so they'll have to defend without fouling.
Series History: Carolina owns a 24-8 all time record against Miami. Last year Carolina swept the season series after winning both in Coral Gables, and Chapel Hill.
UNC - 97th overall. Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 104.5 ( 121st ) Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 97.2 ( 89th )
Miami - 103rd overall. Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 110.6 ( 33rd ) Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 103.9 ( 218th )
TV Info: This ACC matchup will be televised by ESPN2, with a tip time scheduled for noon.
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