Miami Hurricanes at Virginia Cavaliers – NCAAM March 1

Miami (7-15, 3-14) at No. 15 Virginia (15-6, 11-4)

  • Time: 3PM PST | 5PM CST | 6PM EST
  • Location: John Paul Jones Arena, Charlottesville, VA
  • TV: ACC Network

Opening Tip

Miami has lost five in a row and nine out of it’s last 10. The lone win came over Duke in a 77-75 thriller on Feb. 1. The Hurricanes continue to be potentially the most injured team in college basketball as their four returning seniors starters have appeared in 18 of a possible 88 starts.

Virginia has lost three in a row as a stagnant offense that has driven down shooting percentages has been quite the cause for the slide. The Cavaliers are still only one game behind Florida State for the league lead and need to win against Miami and Louisville while hoping for Seminoles losses to Boston College and Notre Dame later in the week.

The Cavaliers and Hurricanes have split 24 games as Virginia holds a 7-4 advantage in Charlottesville. Eleven of the last 12 meetings have been decided by 10 points or less and Virginia has only given up 54 or fewer points to Miami in the last four meetings.

Vs. The Spread

Miami:

  • The Hurricanes are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games
  • The total has gone over in 4 of Miami’s last 6 games
  • The ‘Canes are 4-2 ATS in their last 6 encounters with the Cavaliers

Virginia:

  • The Cavs are 2-4 ATS in their last 6 games
  • The OVER has been the play in 8 of the Wahoos’ last 12 games
  • Virginia and Miami have gone under in 6 of their last 7 meetings

Last Time Out

Miami always plays hard and tough, but fades down the stretch as they did in the 66-58 loss at Clemson on Saturday. The Hurricanes only had six players available as Isaiah Wong torched the Tigers for 28 points. Anthony Walker had 13 points and 10 boards for Miami. Wong made 10 of 18 shots from the field as he was 3-of-6 from the three-point line.

Virginia has been off since last Wednesday when NC State came into the JPJ and took a 68-61 win over the Cavaliers. Sam Hauser had 21 points and Jay Huff scored 19 points and pulled down 11 rebounds for UVa. Coach Tony Bennett is looking for the Cavaliers to consistently be tough and gritty enough to lean on their defense , which has been the calling card in the Bennett era.

Teams Spread Money Line Total Points
Miami +14.5 (-103) +890 O 122.5 (-110)
Virginia -14.5 (-117) -1600 U 122.5 (-110)

Advantage, Miami

Miami Hurricanes LogoIsaiah Wong (17.8 ppg, 5.1 rpg) is very capable of carrying Miami to wins as he will be the best overall player on the court in Charlottesville this evening. Wong has had 29 and 28 points against Florida State and Clemson and amazingly, those came after an ankle injury against Georgia Tech about a week and a half ago. Who can step up beside of his for supplementation will be interesting. Kam McGusty only had six points against Clemson and is due for another big game as he has gone only 12-of-44 from the field in his last four games.

Key Hurricanes Stat:

Miami’s bench only totaled 18 minutes on Saturday and it still was in position to beat Clemson with eight minutes to play. Dang Gak played 11 minutes and Wille Herenton totaled seven. Neither really scratched statistically as four Miami starters played 37 or more minutes.

X-Factor:

Jim Larranaga is the second winningest coach in the program’s history and has steered the program through really a three-year period where they have been beseeched with injury after injury. The dynamic of toughness is underrated when you talk about this team. They mentally have proven they can handle anything that has been thrown – even as a 15-point underdog today at Virginia.

Advantage, Virginia

Virginia Cavaliers LogoThe Cavaliers’ offense hasn’t been efficient in it’s three-game losing streak and much of that has to do with relying too much on leading scorers Sam Hauser (15.3 ppg, 6.8 rpg) and Jay Huff (13.6 ppg, 7.0 rpg) and not integrating more athletic talents in Trey Murphy (10.8 ppg, 3.2 rpg) and Casey Moresell (4.8 ppg,1.5 rpg).

The issue of offensive tempo is an issue as possession length is 20.6 seconds per possession (345th/NCAA) and that’s the way Tony Bennett wants to attack. However points guard Kihei Clark consistently gets to deep into the shot clock with just the dribble and no offensive movement and it causes Virginia to struggle to find good shots. Combine this with the fact that the Cavaliers’ last three opponents have combined to shoot 50 percent from the floor and you have the recipe for a three-game slide.

Key Cavaliers Stat:

As Virginia had picked up it’s offensive game for the entire season, the Cavaliers were fifth nationally in making 40 percent of their three-point field goals. Over the past three games, they made only 21 of 59 from distance (35.5%). Look for a more concerted effort from Hauser, Murphy and Huff on the three-point line as all three make 41.5 percent or better of their triples.

X-Factor:

Getting back to playing the Pack Line Defense the way that Bennett teaches it will be the tell-all in how far the Wahoos can go in March. Where the Cavalier were No. 1 in the nation in defensive efficiency rating in 2018 and 2020, they check in at No. 32 so far this season (per kenpom.com). The lack of forced turnovers has played a big role in the dropped as they have forced only 9.6 per game.

Winner: Virginia 65, Miami (+14.5) 53

The Bets
Miami Hurricanes +14.5
-103
Virginia Cavaliers
-1600
UNDER 122.5
-110
Sub Categories:
Kenneth Cross / Author

Kenneth Cross is a new entry to The Sports Geek staff as he has 25 years of experience in print, broadcast, and internet sports journalism. Cross is a lover of all sports, but college basketball is his passion. He estimates that he has seen around 1,500 college basketball games - live and in-person - and hopes that grows this season. If you listen to Radio, you have likely heard him on Sundays covering the Carolina Panthers for some 20 years. Now in Tampa Bay, he works as a national radio correspondent.