Coral Gables, Fla. - Bank United Center
7:45 p.m., Fox Sports Net
"I've been proud of the way we've consistently tried to work each and every practice to try and get better, particularly on the defensive end of the floor. There's been a lot of things I've really liked with this team, but to come back from being 0-2 to where we are now says a lot about the kids' character." -- UNC head coach Roy Williams on his team winning eight straight ACC games
"It's difficult to leave here not winning. That's the good thing about basketball -- you live to play another game." -- Guard Jack McClinton, following Miami's 78-75 overtime loss at Duke last Saturday
Season to Date: Miami enters the second contest between these two programs with a 15-8 (4-6 ACC) record. The Hurricanes have lost four of their six games since these two programs last met on Jan. 17, falling to Virginia Tech (88-83, OT), N.C. State (84-81, OT) and Maryland (73-68) after knocking off Florida State (75-69) in Coral Gables. Frank Haith's squad rallied to destroy Wake Forest, 79-52, on Feb. 4 before falling at Duke last Saturday in overtime, 78-75.
McClinton's a Bad Man: Jack McClinton has elevated his production during conference play, averaging 23.0 points per game (2nd in the league) and leading all ACC players in three-point field goal percentage (.471) and three-point field goals per game (3.1). The senior sharp shooter earned ACC Player of the Week honors last week after averaging 33.0 points on 62.1 percent shooting (23-of-37, 11-of-16 on 3-pointers), 3.0 rebounds and 1.5 steals in the games against Wake Forest and Duke. For the season, McClinton is scoring 19.7 points per game (fourth best in the league), but against four opponents that have held the No. 1 national ranking this year, he's filling it up for 28.5 points per outing.
Hurricane of a Defense: Miami ranks third in the ACC in both field goal percentage defense (.386) and 3-point field goal percentage defense (.309), and makes it even hard on opposing offenses by leading the ACC in rebounding margin (plus-7.7). Oddly enough, however, the Hurricanes rank dead last in the league in blocked shots (4.1 bpg) and steals (5.8 spg).
Losing the Close Ones: Four of Miami's six ACC losses have been decided by five points or less — including three in overtime.
Long's Better Than Short: The Hurricanes are holding down the ACC cellar in free throw shooting, connecting on just 65.5 percent (129-of-197) of their attempts. Ironically, when Miami steps back some five-odd feet, it leads the conference in 3-point field goal percentage, knocking down 39.3 percent (84-of-214).
Tough Stretch: Miami is facing its third-straight opponent ranked in the nation's top-10. North Carolina is currently ranked third, while Wake Forest held the No. 6 spot and Duke stood at No. 4 when those programs met last week. All three opponents have held the No. 1 spot nationally at some point this season.
Last Meeting: Wayne Ellington drilled seven straight 3-pointers and scored all 23 points of his points in the second half against Miami in an 82-65 UNC win on Jan. 17, 2009, in Chapel Hill. Tyler Hansbrough added 24 points of his own, including 20 in the opening 20 minutes.
Series History: North Carolina leads the series with the Hurricanes, 12-2, including a 4-1 advantage in Miami. The Tar Heels have won four games in a row against Miami.
Projected Starters: 1 Lance Hurdle (6-2, 183, Sr.) – 7.1 ppg, 2.8 apg 33 Jack McClinton (6-1, 185, Sr.) - 19.7 ppg, 47.1% 3pt 32 Brian Asbury (6-7, 221, Sr.) – 7.1 ppg, 4.9 rpg 20 Cyrus McGowan (6-9, 236, Jr.) - 5.8 ppg, 5.3 rpg 21 Dwayne Collins (6-8, 238, Jr.) – 11.5 ppg, 7.3 rpg Key Reserves: 23 James Dews (6-4, 209, Jr.) – 8.2 ppg 00 Jimmy Graham (6-8, 256, Sr.) – 3.6 ppg, 6.0 rpg 30 Adrian Thomas (6-7, 227, Jr.) – 5.2 ppg, 2.4 rpg 31 DeQuan Jones (6-6, 217, Fr.) – 3.5 ppg, 2.2 rpg
McClinton ... Hurdle
Asbury ... Collins
McGowan ... Dews
(Photos courtesy AP)