The only undefeated team left in Atlantic Coast Conference play, the 14th-ranked Miami Hurricanes take to the road for a couple of games this week, starting with Wednesday's clash with the Virginia Tech Hokies at the Cassell Coliseum.
It is a bit surprising that it isn't Duke or NC State sitting atop the conference standings at this point, but rather the Hurricanes. Jim Larranaga's squad has simply caught fire at the right time and currently brings a seven- game win streak with it to Blacksburg, including victories in all six of its league tilts thus far. UM has flexed its muscles in back-to-back routs of Duke (90-63) and most recently, arch rival Florida State (71-47).
James Johnson's first season at the helm of Virginia Tech has been one of peaks and valleys. The Hokies are 11-8 on the year overall, but the conference slate has been a bit more stressful, with the team sitting at a mere 2-4. Tech has lost two straight entering this game and six of its last eight overall. The team returns to Blacksburg following last weekend's 77-70 setback at Clemson.
The Hurricanes hold a narrow 11-10 series advantage. However, Virginia Tech has won the last two meetings in Blacksburg.
Miami shot a modest 42.9 percent from the floor, but it was more than enough, as Florida State was limited to an ugly 30.8 percent effort. In addition, the Hurricanes owned the glass, outrebounding the Seminoles 44-32. Trey McKinney Jones led the team offensively with 15 points. Durand Scott and Kenny Kadji added 11 points each in the lopsided win.
The Hurricanes are a strong defensive team, yielding just 58.1 ppg (19th nationally) on .366 shooting (sixth nationally). Although the team is led by its defensive play, there is definitely scoring depth, with five players currently averaging double figures, now that center Reggie Johnson has returned from a thumb injury. Scott leads the team with 14.3 ppg. Shane Larkin (12.3 ppg) and McKinney Jones (10.1 ppg) complete the team's three-guard set. Kadji (13.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg) will certainly welcome back Johnson (10.6 ppg, 9.1 rpg) down low.
Erick Green was at it again, posting a whopping 25 points, but just like it has been on numerous occasions this season, the points were hollow, as the Hokies dropped a seven-point decision to the Tigers. Jarell Eddie poured in 19 points in support, but the remainder of the roster accounted for just 26 points.
Green not only leads the ACC, but the entire nation in scoring at 25.2 ppg. Green, who is shooting an impressive .495 from the floor, is also converting at an 81.8 percent clip from the free-throw line (139-of-170). He is also the team's top distributor, doling out 4.3 apg. Eddie is the only other double- digit threat on the roster at 14.4 ppg, although Robert Brown is just under the mark at 9.6 ppg.