NCAA Basketball: My Pick for Game of the Week
North Carolina Tar Heels vs. 8. Miami Hurricanes
This will already be the second time these two teams meet and the Hurricanes walked away victorious in their first meeting. That last meeting was on the road for Miami, but this time around they will have the help of their crowd, which has been a huge factor for this team. The Hurricanes are a perfect 10-0 at home this season with one of those coming against the Duke Blue Devils. Not only are they a great home team, but they are arguably the hottest team in the nation as they come in to this one winners of their past ten games.
The Tar Heels on the other hand have been sputtering throughout this season and not looking as dominant as they have in years past. Now they find themselves outside of the top 25 and a victory on the road against a top ten team is just what this team needs to get their season going in the right direction.
The last time these two teams met we saw the Hurricanes walk away with a 68-59 victory, but both those teams were missing key players. Miami will have big man Reggie Johnson this time around, while North Carolina will have the help of Leslie McDonald. That was a game that saw the Tar Heels top two players in James McAdoo and Reggie Bullock shoot a combined 9-30 from the field. I have a feeling we will not see that kind of performance a second time around. Roy Williams will definitely have his team ready for this game and I think his experience in big games like this will have a huge impact on how North Carolina performs.
On the other side of things, I just cannot become a believer in the Hurricanes. Maybe it is the fact that they are outside the top 100 in assists, rebounds and points per game in the nation. Maybe I just do not think of Miami as a great basketball program and that is blocking any chance of me seeing how great they have been. One thing is for sure is that they do have some pretty good talent with Kenny Kadji and Durand Scott both averaging in double figures. They also have the length to matchup with McAdoo down low as they could throw either Kadji, Johnson or Julian Gamble at him.
This will be a big game for both teams as it is yet again another measuring stick for the Hurricanes and a chance for the Tar Heels to get a big win and build some momentum. In the end, I think the battle down low will be key and I expect a big time performance from McAdoo even as he goes up against the tough front line of the Hurricanes. I also expect Roy Williams to have a clear advantage in the coaching battle.
The Winner: North Carolina Tar Heels