Coral Gables, Fla. -- BankUnited Center (7,000)
Sunday, 8 p.m., FSN (Tim Brando, Mike Gminski)
Projected Starters: 12 Anthony Harris (6-2, 187, Jr.) – 11.2 ppg, 3.2 apg 13 Guillermo Diaz (6-2, 195, Jr.) – 16.8 ppg, 3.2 apg 22 Robert Hite (6-2, 190, Sr.) – 16.9 ppg, 5.8 rpg 2 Gary Hamilton (6-10, 265, Sr.) – 3.9 ppg, 6.0 rpg 50 Anthony King (6-9, 235, Jr.) - 8.7 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 2.0 bpg Key Reserves: 15 Denis Clemente (6-0, 165, Fr.) – 6.2 ppg, 2.1 apg 42 Raymond Hicks (6-7, 230, So.) - 4.0 ppg, 2.8 rpg 00 Jimmy Graham (6-8, 245, Fr.) – 2.2 ppg, 2.71 rpg 32 Brian Asbury (6-7, 210, Fr.) – 1.6 ppg, 1.8 rpg
Season To Date: There's no doubt Miami is exceeding expectations thus far. They sit tied for third in the ACC going into Sunday's game and are starting to eye the NCAA Tournament. To get a berth, though, they'll need to finish strong and record some quality wins -- which is why the next week is so important. North Carolina is the first in a three-game stretch for Miami that then consists of matchups at Boston College and at Duke. All nine of their losses have come against respectable opposition, but their only two "good" wins were against Maryland and North Carolina. The 'Canes let a great opportunity slip away in a 2OT loss to NC State last Wednesday.
First Game vs. UNC: The Tar Heels were unable to stop Miami's backcourt trio and as a result lost to the 'Canes, 81-70, in Chapel Hill on Jan. 14. Anthony Harris, Guillermo Diaz and Robert Hite combined for 65 points, while the 'Canes hauled in 21 offensive rebounds. Miami totaled 51 second-half points. Roy Williams dubbed it a "total breakdown," specifically citing the rebounding and defensive problems. Tyler Hansbrough led UNC with 25 points.
Guard Power: The Miami offense relies heavily on its three starting guards: Anthony Harris, Guillermo Diaz and Robert Hite. None are over 6-2, but they can all shoot, pass and defend -- while Hite and Diaz are also suprisingly good rebounders thanks to their athleticism and toughness. They are the team's only double-digit scorers and combine for 65% of the team's offense, though they accounted for 80% in the win at Chapel Hill.
De-fense!: The biggest key to the Canes' success this season has been on the defensive end. The three guards have the perimeter covered, while Anthony King (2.0 bpg) patrols the paint. Miami leads the ACC in scoring defense, allowing only 62.5 points per game.
Series History: North Carolina leads the all-time series against Miami, 8-2. The two teams first played in 1950 and the two Miami wins have been at Coral Gables in 2003 and then earlier this season in Chapel Hill.
Hite ... Diaz
King ... Hamilton
Harris ... Clemente