6. Miami [16-11] vs. 11. Virginia [13-14], 7 p.m.
Regular Season Meeting: Miami 91, (at) Virginia 80, Jan 12.
Leading Scorer: Guillermo Diaz, Miami, 26.
Leading Rebounder: Elton Brown, Virginia, 10.
Records in ACC tournament: Miami, first tournament; Virginia, 28-50.
Vs. each other in ACC tournament: First meeting.
Back court: The Hurricanes are as guard-oriented as any team in the country; their three-guard lineup of Guillermo Diaz, Robert Hite and Anthony Harris have combined for 67 percent of the team's scoring. Diaz, from Puerto Rico, has been perhaps the biggest surprise in the ACC this season, averaging 18.4 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.6 steals. He is an ultra-quick player and shoots the three-pointer especially well. Hite and Harris also are capable scorers, although they don't shoot the three-pointer as efficiently as Diaz. The Cavaliers finally have the point guard they've been lacking in Sean Singletary. The freshman from Philadelphia has the poise of a veteran and runs the offense with precision. T.J. Bannister handles and distributes the ball pretty well, but doesn't look to score much. J.R. Reynolds has been mired in a bad shooting slump, scoring only 10 points in the past six games combined.
Front court: Miami forwards William Frisby and Anthony King are above-average ACC players, but the Hurricanes' strength certainly is their back court. Frisby and King are shorter than 6 feet 9, but the Hurricanes lead the ACC in offensive rebounding and they've scored 408 second-chance points. Their guards, who have an average vertical jump of 38.4 inches, all rebound pretty well. The Cavaliers should have an advantage in the front court with senior center Elton Brown, whose production has been sporadic, and senior forward Devin Smith, the team's best player. Forward Gary Forbes has provided a big spark off the bench at times, averaging 15 points in the last six games.
Coaching/Intangibles: The Hurricanes still have some work to do to get an at-large bid into the NCAA tournament, possibly needing to advance to Sunday's championship game. The Cavaliers have lost their last five and aren't showing much fight or desire under Coach Pete Gillen, who could be let go as early as next week.
-- Mark Schlabach