The Miami Hurricanes basketball team has won three of its last four games and is hoping to keep that momentum going as it heads into March and the ACC tournament in a few weeks.
The question is, can it sustain its recent success?
Miami finally won a home game in the ACC last Wednesday when it defeated Notre Dame 71-64. The Hurricanes finally enjoyed some home cooking, so much so that they came back for seconds Saturday afternoon, defeating Boston College 69-42 for their biggest margin of victory this season.
“I’d definitely say that winning is always fun, so the last couple days have been kind of a relief to just walk around and kind of feel good about yourself,” Miami guard Rion Brown said. “We’re going to go into this next game with a lot of confidence and I think it’s really going to help us up there. We’ve got three straight road games and we’ve actually been better on the road than we have been at home, so we’re looking forward to it.”
That three game stretch starts Wednesday night against No. 12 Virginia, winners of 11 straight. The Cavaliers sit alone at the top of the ACC standings and have yet to lose a game at home in conference play.
So how can Miami keep the ball rolling during this tough stretch?
“Hopefully the guys feel really good about themselves,” Miami coach Jim Larrañaga said. “The major concern is now going on the road and continuing to play well, like we have earlier in the season. I hope their mindset is to take it one game at a time because every opponent is very, very different. We’re going to play Virginia on Wednesday and N.C. State on Saturday. They’re two very, very different opponents. We need to be able to make all the necessary adjustments for each game and Virginia is undefeated at home in ACC play. They only have one loss in conference play overall and that was at Duke at the buzzer. They’re basically the best team in the league right now. We have to go in there with a clear focus.”
It won’t be easy. Miami has scored at least 69 points in its past three victories but Virginia has an imposing defense that makes you work for every point you get. The Cavaliers are ranked first in the country in scoring defense, surrendering just 55.3 points per game, and eighth in field goal percentage at 38.6 percent.
Miami’s offense meanwhile is ranked 337th in the nation at 61.7 points per game despite its recent increase. Brown (15.0) and guard Garrius Adams (10.2) are the only two players averaging double figures for the Hurricanes.
The Hurricanes are still hoping to earn a first round bye in the ACC tournament, where the bottom six teams play on the first day in Greensboro. Miami currently sits in tenth place out of 15 teams in the ACC and would currently have to play on day number one. It trails Maryland by two games for ninth place in the conference with just four games to go.