After a thrilling victory over Boston College, University of Miami basketball will take on a heavyweight in Coach K’s Blue Devils. Read to find out what to expect from this matchup.
Miami Hurricanes will take on Duke Blue Devils in ACC Tournament semifinal
For Miami Hurricanes’ men’s basketball, it’s been the best season since 2018, when they last made the NCAA tournament, losing on a heartbreaking buzzer beater to Loyola Chicago in the first round. Now, Miami basketball is back and primed to make it back to the big dance.
The Canes took a big step toward March Madness on Thursday as they took down the Boston College Eagles in a thriller of the ACC tournament quarterfinals. Miami won a game that was hotly contested all of regulation and required a thrilling overtime to determine a winner. The Canes won 71-69 on a buzzer beater layup from guard Jordan Miller.
This win is huge as it places the Canes in the semifinal of the ACC tournament against none other than the No. 1 seeded Duke Blue Devils.
The importance of this matchup for both teams is without question, but for Miami this feels like a “prove it” game. The Canes will obviously be coming in as the underdog against the Blue Devils, and their place in the NCAA tournament is still in question. After beating Boston College they’ll likely make it into March Madness but just where they end up depends on this game.
On top of that, the Canes have a chance to upset the basketball bullies of the ACC in Duke. Duke, along with bitter rival UNC, have been the juggernauts of ACC basketball for many years and this being Coach K’s last season, the pressure on Duke to go far is undoubtedly looming.
The two will square off on a neutral court as the ACC Tournament is being played at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York as usual. Miami comes into this matchup having beaten Duke on the road in a 76-74 thriller back on January 8th. Just ten days after that win, the Canes trounced UNC 85-57 at home. Those victories should be an indicator that Miami is not going to be a cakewalk for the Blue Devils and this game could go either way.
Still the powerhouse that is Duke Men’s Basketball cannot be denied. This year in the ACC the Blue Devils rank 1st in both total points and points per game as well as 4th best in points allowed and 3rd best in points allowed per game. Duke has the best average margin between points for and points against of any team in the ACC by five full points.
Meanwhile, those numbers haven’t been nearly as impressive for Miami. The Canes are 5th best in points for and average points per game but have allowed the 3rd most points against in the conference and have allowed four more average points per game than Duke. Their average margin is over 10 points lower than Duke’s.
On paper this may seem like a game that’s Duke’s to lose, but count Miami out at your own risk. The Canes have been an incredibly resilient team this season, and having already beaten Duke definitely speaks to this team’s ability to step up against big opponents.
Being two of the top five scoring teams in the ACC, defense is going to come at premium for both teams; especially Miami.The Canes will have to hold pace with Duke in the 1st quarter if they want to have a chance in this game.
Once Coach K and the Blue Devils start to pull away, it’ll be very hard to catch back up. Miami has been here before and has won against this team before, and hey, we’re basically on the eve of March Madness; anything can happen.
Duke has been shaky at points this season and this is not the seemingly unbeatable team that it was a few years ago. Riding the momentum of their buzzer beater win on Thursday, Miami will take this one in another thriller.
Final score prediction: Hurricanes 70, Blue Devils 66
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