Hurricanes Need To Rebound

After a two game road trip, the Miami Hurricanes (13-10, 3-6 BIG EAST) will return home Wednesday night, February 11, and play host to Big East rival and future ACC conference mate, Boston College (15-7, 4-5 BIG EAST). These two teams come into the game riding two very different waves.

Miami has their backs against the wall, staring a five game losing streak in the face. Boston College, on the other hand, ended their 3 game losing skid with back to back victories over Notre Dame and a depleted St. John's team, Sunday at Madison Square Garden. This is the only meeting between these two teams this year. Last year, the Eagles swept the season series 2-0.

For the Hurricanes to win tonight, two key factors stand out. Miami must keep Boston College off the glass. The Eagles have numerous inside guys that are all tenacious rebounders. In their last effort, Boston College recorded 50 rebounds, which was their highest total since 1997. The other factor for the Canes will be how well they defend the Eagles star. Miami struggled tremendously with Georgetown's Gerald Riley this past week. Tonight, they have their hands full again trying to stop 6'7 sophomore, Craig Smith. Smith was runner-up last season for Big East Rookie of the Year. The winner was no slouch: Carmelo Anthony. The bulky forward is 6th in the league in scoring and rebounding, averaging 18.3 PPG and 8.5 RPG. To go along with Smith, the Eagles will send out a nice pair of freshman. Forward Jared Dudley is averaging 12.2 PPG and 7.0 RPG, while guard Sean Marshall had a career-high 23 points his last outing.

Signs of a young team shine through when watching the Hurricane squad. Perry Clark just can't get his guys to put together 40 minutes of good basketball. When you play in the Big East, you can't take a possession or two off. You have to play every possession like it is your last, and that is what the Hurricanes have failed to do as of late. In their loss at Georgetown on Saturday, the Hurricanes controlled the first half but ran into a buzz saw during the second. Aside from the North Carolina game, this was the only time the Hurricanes have been non-competitive all season. One bad half cost them this important game.

For the Canes to turn it around, Robert Hite, Guillermo Diaz, and Armando Surratt must step up. These three guards are the strength of the Canes team, while Boston College's guard play is their weakness. If the Canes can exploit the Eagles guards, get a steady game from Rice, as well as another big performance from Karron Clarke off the bench, Miami should be able to pick up a much needed victory tonight.

Miami and Boston College are jockeying for position in the Big East tournament. The winner will have the upper hand at today's end. Tip time is 7:30 from the Convocation Center on the Miami campus. If unable to attend the game, you can catch the broadcast via Fox Sports Net Florida as well as on WQAM 560 in Miami.

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