Coral Gables, FL – The Virginia Cavaliers look to end the Hurricanes' run as they tangle with second-ranked Miami-Florida in an Atlantic Coast Conference matchup at the BankUnited Center.
This will be the first meeting of the season between these conference rivals. Miami holds a 9-5 all-time series edge versus the Cavaliers.
Jim Larranaga's Hurricanes have still yet to be defeated at home (11-0) and in ACC play (12-0) this season. Miami survived a thriller on Sunday night, overcoming a late four-point deficit to down Clemson, 46-44, for its 13th consecutive victory. The usually reliable Hurricanes struggled against the Tigers as Durand Scott and Shane Larkin combined for just 10 points on 3-of-16 shooting from the field, but Kenny Kadji came through with 12 points that includes a late go-ahead 3-pointer.
Virginia will be looking to bounce back from a forgettable performance that resulted with a 93-81 loss at North Carolina. Tony Bennett's Cavaliers have been known for their superb defensive prowess that limits foes to an ACC low, 54.0 ppg. The Tar Heels had no trouble finding creases in the defense as they connected on 49.2 percent of their shots from the field including 13-of-28 from beyond the arc. Joe Harris paced Virginia with 27 points in the setback while Jontel Evans tallied 12 points and five assists.
Miami's road victories have not been easy to collect, but it is much more dominant at the BankUnited Center. The Hurricanes' last four home wins have come by an average of 24.8 point margin. Scott paces the team with 13.4 ppg, while Larkin adds 13.2 points, 4.3 assists and 2.1 steals per outing. Kadji, Julian Gamble, and Reggie Johnson form a tremendous frontcourt that produces on both ends of the floor. Larranaga's squad is submitting a very balanced effort with only 58.7 points allowed per tilt to the 69.5 it produces.
The loss to UNC snapped the Cavaliers' three-game winning streak and dropped them to an 18-7 overall record. Harris has been stellar all season long and is scoring a team-high 16.7 ppg and is shooting at a 49.2-percent clip from beyond the arc (63-of-128). Akil Mitchell is next in line with 12.6 points to go along with a team-best 8.8 rebounds per tilt. The duo's production has not been enough to raise Virginia any higher than 10th in the ACC in scoring offense (65.0).