With one ACC Tournament win apiece under their belts, the Virginia Cavaliers and Miami Hurricanes tip off around 9 PM tonight in the ACC semifinals after the conclusion of North Carolina and Notre Dame. The game will air on ESPN.
How we got here
Malcolm Brogdon beat Georgia Tech. Well, not technically just Malcolm, but basically. Brogdon showed why he won both ACC Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, scoring 26 for the good guys and limiting Marcus Georges-Hunt to only 7 points. Mike Tobey and Evan Nolte each chipped in solid contributions of their own, with Tobey shooting 80% from the field and Nolte electrifying the crowd at JPJ North with a big four-point play.
Miami was pushed hard by a red-hot Virginia Tech squad, but held on to win 88-82. The Hokies were able to force Miami into an up-tempo game that saw almost 10 more possessions than the Canes' season average. Tonye Jekiri fouled out on a silly technical he earned protesting a call, but a night where Miami shot 63% from the floor helped them make up for missing their defensive stopper.
What happened last time
Miami won, 64-61, in Coral Gables. Brogdon's 28 points weren't enough for Virginia to overcome a listless performance from the supporting cast and a lackluster defensive effort. The Hoos allowed Miami to notch 1.19 points per possession, in large part due to Davon Reed's 5-of-6 performance from three. Fouls also plagued the Cavaliers, as Mike Tobey fouled out in only 16 minutes of floor time.
Who to watch
Reed, for sure. His outburst against the Hoos came during a stretch that has seen him score in double figures in five straight games and nine of the Canes' last eleven. Matchup nightmare Sheldon McClellan has been held largely in check against Virginia this year—scoring 13 and 11 in the two games so far—but is a threat to go off any night he plays. Ivan Cruz Uceda didn't play in last night's win over Virginia Tech but is the kind of stretch big man that can give the Pack Line defense headaches.