Chapel Hill, N.C. - Dean E. Smith Center
9 p.m., ESPN-HD
"Jack [McClinton] is shooting 47 percent from 3-point range, and that's got to be up there in the entire nation, so you have to be able to cover him from the 3-point line. At the same time, they're holding their opponents a very low field goal percentage, so that means that they're tough defensively… Sometimes they don't shoot as well as they would like to shoot, but they go get the ball and put it back in." – UNC head coach Roy Williams
"What you see within our league is that we have a very good basketball league. Yes, North Carolina may be a great team. I think they're fine. Our league is just very, very good." – Miami head coach Frank Haith
"He's a guy that I think, if he does play to that level, he's as good as any post player in this league. We're definitely going to continue to go to him, and hopefully, that part of his game in terms of being consistent is going to be there night in and night out." – Haith addressing forward Dwayne Collins' free throw shooting woes
Season to Date: Miami enters Saturday's contest with a 13-3 (2-1 ACC) record. Head coach Frank Haith's squad opened the season ranked as the 16th-ranked team in the country, before dropping out of the polls after losing to then-No. 25 Clemson, 91-72, on Dec. 21. The Hurricanes first two losses of the season occurred against then-No. 2 UConn, 76-63, and Ohio State, 73-68, in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Miami has won its last two conference games against Boston College and Maryland, and managed to knock off Kentucky, 73-67, at Rupp Arena in Lexington on Dec. 6.
Jack in the Box: Jack McClinton is living up to his preseason All-ACC billing, averaging 17.0 points on the season. In his past eight outings, the senior is contributing 18.3 points, 3.6 assists and 3.9 rebounds per contest, shooting .521 from long range and .853 from the free throw line. McClinton is an assassin from long range, leading the ACC with a .440 career three point field goal percentage. So far this season, he leads the league in 3-point field goal percentage, connecting on 47.3 percent (44-of-93) of his attempts. The sharpshooter is actually more efficient from downtown than he is from inside the arc (.463 on 87-of-188 shooting).
Strong Defensive Stats: The Hurricanes live near the top of the defensive categories in the ACC, ranking in the top-three in scoring defense (61.8 – 3rd), field goal percentage defense (37.2 – 2nd) and 3-point field goal percentage defense (28.1 – 2nd).
Owning the Glass: Miami leads the ACC – and ranks third nationally – in rebounding margin (10.1), having outrebounded their opponents in 12 of its 16 outings. Dwayne Collins (11.7 points, 61.1 FG percentage, 61.2 FT percentage) averages a team-high 7.9 rebounds per game, and his 3.3 offensive boards per game rank fourth in the conference. Cyrus McGowan (6.1 rpg), Jimmy Graham (5.8 rpg) and Brian Asbury (5.0 rpg) also provide Haith with solid presences in the post.
Coming Home Again: Four Hurricanes claim North Carolina ties, including Haith, who attended college at Elon University. Graham grew up in Goldsboro (Charis Prep), redshirt freshman Julian Gamble is a Durham native (Southern Durham HS) and freshman Reggie Johnson hails from Winston-Salem (Winston-Salem Prep).
Odd Fact: Senior Lance Hurdle, a 6-foot-2 guard averaging 7.5 points per game, boasts a ridiculous 45-inch vertical jump, followed closely behind by Graham's 40-inch leaping ability.
Last Meeting: North Carolina defeated Miami, 98-82, on Jan. 23, 2008, at the BankUnited Center in Coral Gables, Fla. Tyler Hansbrough scored 27 of his 35 points in the second half and Ty Lawson delivered arguably the best performance of his collegiate career, posting 23 points, 10 assists, five rebounds and just one turnover.
Series History: North Carolina leads the series with the Hurricanes, 11-2. The Tar Heels own a 6-1 record in Chapel Hill, a 4-1 edge on the road and a 1-0 mark at neutral sites.
Projected Starters: 1 Lance Hurdle (6-2, 183, Sr.) – 7.5 ppg, 2.5 apg 33 Jack McClinton (6-1, 185, Sr.) - 17.0 ppg, 3.0 apg 32 Brian Asbury (6-7, 221, Sr.) – 6.8 ppg, 5.0 rpg 20 Cyrus McGowan (6-9, 236, Jr.) - 7.0 ppg, 6.1 rpg 21 Dwayne Collins (6-8, 238, Jr.) – 11.7 ppg, 7.9 rpg Key Reserves: 23 James Dews (6-4, 209, Jr.) – 9.1 ppg 00 Jimmy Graham (6-8, 256, Sr.) – 3.8 ppg, 5.8 rpg 30 Adrian Thomas (6-7, 227, Jr.) – 3.7 ppg, 2.3 rpg 31 DeQuan Jones (6-6, 217, Fr.) – 3.7 ppg, 2.2 rpg
McClinton ... Hurdle
Asbury ... Collins
McGowan ... Dews
(Photos courtesy AP)