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Virginia faces Miami in the first round of the ACC Tournament: Game Thread

What: ACC Tournament: Virginia Cavaliers (16-14, 7-9 ACC) vs. Miami Hurricanes (18-13, 6-10 ACC)

Time: 12:00 noon
Date: Thursday, March 10, 2011
Place: Greensboro, NC
TV: Here, (inside the ACC network), (outside the ACC network), or your iPhone (ACC Sports)
Radio: Virginia Sports Radio Network

Spread: Vegas: Virginia +3.5; Pomeroy: Virginia loses by 4
Last Meeting: February 5, 2011: L 68-70 (OT)
Last Time Out: Miami 57, Georgia Tech 66
Series:Miami 8-4

This is it, folks. From here on out, it's all or nothing a Cavalier squad that's won four of the past five games and is peaking just at the right time this season. The last matchup between these two squads went to overtime (after UVA was up by 7 with just 1:45 to go in regulation), but this goes down the drain because it's tournament time, and as is always the case with the ACC, it's any team, any night. Or in this case, any team, any lunch-two-hour-break.

It's the same story as pretty much every game. If the game is ugly (be it by good Virginia defense or by a crappy Miami showing), it favors Virginia. The Canes average 71.6 points per game, but the Hoos give up only 62.2 a game (second best in the conference). Of course, the flip side is that, unfortunately, Virginia gets only 61.9 points a game -- dead last in the conference for the second straight year. Part of this, of course, is by design. The other three parts is by inconsistent performance and bad free throw shooting. Note that in the four victories over the past five games, Virginia broke 61 points in all games. During the one loss, the Hoos only put up 44, against Boston College.

Luckily, the team is gelling at just the right time late in the season. With Mustapha Farrakhan, Sammy Zeglinski, and Joe Harris all finding their stride from long distance as of late, UVA has a great chance at advancing in the tournament. Virginia led the conference in 3-point shooting in ACC games at 39.6%, the highest percentage from behind the arc in an ACC season (previous record was 39.5% set in 1994-95).

Who knows if Miami is any good or not at this point. They have alternated wins and losses in their past eight games and unfortunately are due for a win today. Here are a few quick Miami hits:

  • Miami has a third-team All-ACC player in junior guard Malcolm Grant, who shot better than the national average from the 3-point line in six of the Canes' final seven regular-season games (20-40.
  • Miami is 5-6 in the ACC Tournament, including upsets over No. 5 Wake Forest and No. 4 Virginia Tech while seeded 12th a year ago. Not today though, Canes.
  • At center, Reggie Johnson is a 6'10 303 lbs. monster. He is close to averaging double-double (12 points per game, 9.7 rebounds per game). And again, did I mention 303 pounds? He received an honorable mention on the All-ACC team this year. Again, monster though.

As always, leave your pre-, in-, and post-game thoughts here. Win and we're in! or rather, Win four more straight and we're in!