CORAL GABLES (CBSMiami/SportsDirect) – The Miami Hurricanes have been a very good team in their own building and will some more of that home cooking as the regular season nears its end.
With both teams needing a strong finish to the season in order to assure themselves NCAA Tournament bids, Virginia Tech visits Miami on Wednesday with eighth place in the ACC on the line.
ESPN’s Bracketology currently has the Hokies, who lost their most recent game to No. 13 Virginia, as an eighth seed in the Tournament and the Hurricanes, who are coming off a comeback victory at North Carolina State, as a No. 11 – making this game a key one for both teams.
The Hokies, who will be playing for the first time in a week, were no match for Virginia’s tenacious defense, shooting only 35.7 percent and being outrebounded 37-22 while scoring only 48 points.
Now they face another solid defensive team that has been dominant on the glass – Miami is a plus-6.7 per game in rebounds.
“They’re second in the league in offensive rebounding,” Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams told reporters in sizing up the Hurricanes. “They’re rebounding 36 percent of their misses, which is right under North Carolina, and I think North Carolina had 19 (offensive rebounds) the last time we played them. We need to do better than that.”
Miami is coming off perhaps its most impressive offensive half of the season, scoring 48 points in the final 20 minutes to overcome a nine-point halftime deficit against the Wolfpack en route to an 84-79 victory.
TV: 9 p.m. ET, RSN, ACC Network
ABOUT VIRGINIA TECH (16-6, 5-5 ACC): Led by senior forward Zach LeDay (15.9 points, 6.6 rebounds), the Hokies have plenty of offensive firepower, with five players averaging in double figures and the team shooting an impressive 48.7 percent to rank 21st in the nation.
LeDay and Chris Clarke (11.6 points, 7.4 rebounds) both are shooting better than 50 percent, giving the Hokies dependable inside scoring, while Seth Allen (12.5 points, 55.7 percent) and Ahmed Hill (12.5 points) have combined to shoot 42.8 percent from 3-point range.
The Hokies have played unselfishly at the offensive end, with three players – Allen, Clarke and Justin Robinson – averaging 3.3 assists or more and the latter leading the way with 4.2.
ABOUT MIAMI (15-7, 5-5): Senior guard and leading scorer Davon Reed (15.8 points) drained a career-high seven 3-pointers against N.C. State on his way to a career-high 26 points and has been at his best in conference play, averaging 17.7 points while usually being matched up defensively against the opposition’s top backcourt scoring threat.
Reed, Ja’Quan Newton (15 points, 3.8 assists) and freshman Bruce Brown (12.1, 3.3, 6.5 rebounds) have scored 65.7 percent of the team’s points in conference games.
The Hurricanes got a big boost against N.C. State from Anthony Lawrence Jr. (seven points), who scored a career-high 19 points, and Ebuka Izundu, who also set a personal best with 16 points after totaling only 13 in Miami’s first nine ACC contests.
- The Hurricanes are 14-1 when they score 70 or more points.
- Miami have won six of its last seven meetings with Virginia Tech, including two of three last season.
- Four of the Hokies’ top seven scorers are shooting 52.4 percent or better.
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