College Basketball Pick
The race for the ACC regular season title is far from over with Four teams still having a shot at taking the conference. North Carolina is in the lead, but the Heels close the season with difficult road Games. This Game will help us determine which one of these teams is worthy.
Miami bounced back from a defeat at UNC by scraping past Virginia on Monday night. This is their final home Game of the year, so there may be some added motivation for the Hurricanes to walk away with a win.
As for Louisville, its season is almost over due to postseason bans. The Cardinals haven’t been too trustworthy on the road, but what team in the country has? To have a shot at the ACC title, they’ll need to win this Game as they close the season with a road Game at Virginia, which may be even more difficult.
This is the only matchup this year between these teams, which is a bit disappointing. It pits two high-level backcOurts against each other and should produce a fun battle. The Hurricanes took down Virginia earlier in the week with the help of a hot-shooting Davon Reed, who finished with 21 points and five threes. Angel Rodriguez and Sheldon McClellan produced as usual for a combined 18 points, but it was Reed who opened the door for the win.
Miami’s frontcOurt duo of Tonye Jekiri and Kamari Murphy was vital in the win against Virginia, putting multiple bigs of the Cavaliers into foul trouble. Jekiri and Murphy aren’t too effective on the offensive end, but they held Virginia in check down low and combined for 17 boards and 6 assists. They’ll have a big test again against Chinanu Onuaku, who is a threat for a double-double every night. The problem for Onuaku lately is that he has been in foul trouble the last few road Games and that has kept his minutes down. If he gets into foul trouble again, it’s hard to see Louisville having an edge in this Game.
It doesn’t help the Cardinals that 7-footer Ana Mahmoud is out for the rest of the season. Deng Adel averages just over 3 minutes per Game, but he has played a decent chunk at times this year and can be effective, scoring 12 points to go with five boards against Duke last weekend. But like Miami, Louisville’s success usually depends on what its guards can do. That starts with Damion Lee, who leads the team with 16.8 points per Game. Lee has been great this year, but when faced with a tough matchup, he has run into issues and puts up a lot of bad shots. He’ll likely draw McClellan in this Game, which could give him some trouble. If Lee has a bad day from the field, it’ll be tough for the Cards to come out on top.
Elsewhere, Quentin Snider and Trey Lewis can help out, although those two are largely inconsistent, more so than what Miami brings with Rodriguez, Reed and Ja’Quan Newton off the bench.
Louisville will do its best to pressure Miami into turnovers and that may be its only way to victory. Otherwise, the Hurricanes haven’t lost at home in ACC play yet, and it’s looking like it’ll end that way.
Miami 73 Louisville 70