Previewing Miami

Top-seeded North Carolina tips off its 2011 ACC Tournament against ninth-seeded Miami at noon on Friday. The Tar Heels needed a Harrison Barnes 3-pointer with 6.6 seconds remaining to hold off the Hurricanes in the teams' only meeting this season.

North Carolina (24-6, 14-2) vs. Miami (19-13, 6-10)
Greensboro, N.C. -- Greensboro Coliseum
Noon - Raycom/ESPN2


"It is always special for me to be back in North Carolina, especially Greensboro. Growing up in the state and knowing the tradition of ACC basketball, I am living a dream coaching in this league and in this tournament." – Miami head coach Frank Haith

"Obviously, first and foremost, when you play North Carolina, it's transition defense. We've got to get back and set our defense. They're probably the hottest team in the country right now. I think they've won seven in a row and they're playing with a lot of confidence. We know it's going to be a tremendous challenge but also a tremendous opportunity." – Haith

"We've got to find Harrison Barnes immediately, because he hit two big shots. We're going to find him before he comes in the arena and make sure he doesn't do that again. I think Kendall Marshall is playing really well. He's running the team and making sure they get into the offense. I know we just have to stay together and try to win another basketball game." – Miami guard Malcolm Grant


Season to Date: Miami enters Friday's quarterfinal with a 19-13 (6-10 ACC) record. After dropping six of the first seven conference games, the Hurricanes rallied to win five of their final nine league contests to secure the ninth seed in the ACC Tournament. Frank Haith's squad overcame an 11-point deficit in the final two minutes of regulation to force overtime and defeat eighth-seeded Virginia, 69-62, in opening round action on Thursday. Miami is 7-3 over its last 10 games.

Highlights from Thursday: Miami missed 17 of its first 19 field goal attempts of the second half and trailed 53-43 with 42.5 seconds left, but the Hurricanes scored the final 10 points of regulation to force overtime thanks to a Virginia collapse complete with four turnovers and three missed free throws. Miami made nine of its final 10 shots, including all five in overtime. Malcolm Grant paced the Hurricanes with 16 points on 4-of-16 shooting and Durand Scott and Garrius Adams both added 10 points.

Bombs Away: Miami has the ACC's two most prolific 3-point shooters in Grant (2.6 pg, 1st) and senior wing Adrian Thomas (2.6 pg, 2nd). Grant has hit a trey in 19 straight games, which stands as the longest active streak in the ACC, while Thomas is close behind with a trey in 17 consecutive games (second-longest streak). That duo has combined for 24 3-pointers over Miami's last five games, despite shooting a collective 4-of-16 from long range on Thursday. The Hurricanes lead the ACC with a 38.7 shooting percentage from beyond the arc.

Regular Season Accolades: Grant was tabbed as a third-team All-ACC player and sophomore center Reggie Johnson earned honorable mention honors by the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association on Monday. Grant, a junior from Brooklyn, N.Y., leads the ACC in 3-point field goal percentage (42.7, 14th nationally), three-point field goals made (2.6) and free throw percentage (87.1, 30th nationally). Johnson has posted 12 double-doubles this season and has increased his production during conference play, averaging 12.6 points and 9.9 rebounds per contest. Thomas and North Hollywood, Calif. freshman forward Erik Swoope were also named to the 2011 All-ACC Academic Men's Basketball Team earlier this week.

Returning Home: The ACC Tournament marks a homecoming for four Hurricanes – Johnson (Winston-Salem), Adams (Apex), Julian Gamble (Durham) and Haith (Burlington). The Hurricanes head coach went to high school at Western Alamance and graduated from Elon University before serving on coaching staffs at Wake Forest (1989-90, 1997-2001), UNC Wilmington (1990-92) and Elon (1985-89).

Head-to-Head Season Results: North Carolina defeated Miami, 74-71, on Jan. 26 in Coral Gables, Fla. in the only meeting between these two teams this season. Harrison Barnes drained a 3-pointer from the right wing with 6.6 seconds left to play to secure the come-from-behind victory. The Hurricanes were up 18-4 early before UNC closed the first half with a 25-11 run to knot the score at 39. Barnes scored 13 points and Dexter Strickland added 12 points for the Tar Heels.

Series History: North Carolina leads the all-time series with Miami, 15-2. Friday's meeting will be the first ever between these two programs in the ACC Tournament.

Projected Starters:
3 Malcolm Grant (6-1, 180, Jr.) - 14.9 ppg, 3.3 apg
1 Durand Scott (6-3, 200, So.) - 13.1 ppg, 3.2 apg
15 Rion Brown (6-5, 188, Fr.) - 4.3 ppg, 1.9 rpg
30 Adrian Thomas (6-7, 226, Sr.) - 9.1 ppg, 3.9 rpg
42 Reggie Johnson (6-10, 303, So.) - 11.9 ppg, 9.6 rpg

Top Reserves:
25 Garrius Adams (6-6, 196, So.) - 7.7 ppg, 3.8 rpg
31 DeQuan Jones (6-7, 219, Jr.) - 4.5 ppg, 2.5 rpg
45 Julian Gamble (6-9, 258, Jr.) - 3.7 ppg, 3.3 rpg
32 Erik Swoope (6-6, 230, Fr.) - 1.5 ppg, 1.1 rpg

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