The Miami Hurricanes should have this game wrapped up by the first half, in what looks to be a totally dominating No. 2 vs. No. 15 matchup. Does Pacific have a chance at this ACC double-champion?
Credentials: This is a strong transition team, as you can see by their number of assists per game (14.7). After finishing second in the regular season, thanks to a four-game win streak, the Powercats survived the quarterfinal and semifinal matches of the Big West Tournament, before finishing off UC Irvine in strong fashion.
Talent: Scoring-wise, Pacific spreads the ball around to everyone (their top five scorers average between 7.4-11.4 PPG), but the go-to man on the team is senior Lorenzo McCloud. McCloud averages 11.4 points per game, 3.1 rebounds and 4.0 assists. Be on the lookout for junior Tony Gill who became a sixth-man/starter in the last nine games of the season and, from that point, has averaged 12.3 points per game and also was named the Big West Tournament MVP.
Credentials: Miami is a fresh change of pace from your typical Tobacco Road ACC champion. It's the Hurricanes first trip to the NCAA tourney since 2008 and arguably their best season since Perry Clark's 2001-2002 squad. Boasting a No. 5 ranking in the AP Poll, the Hurricanes look like a force to be reckoned with. However, there are a few questionable losses on that resume, namely Florida Golf Coast (who burst their way into the NCAA tourney this year), a bad Wake Forest team and a mediocre Georgia Tech squad, that have experts slowly getting ready to push the "upset alert" button.
Talent: There is little shortage of talent on Miami's squad. Shane Larkin is the team's leader in scoring at 14.6 points per game, followed by Kenny Kadji and Durand Scott, who score 13.3 and 13.2. Kadji and Reggie Johnson also lead the team with 7.0 rebounds per contest. Trey McKinney-Jones also contributes heavily to the team, with 9.4 points and 3.3 rebounds.
Bottom Line: The Hurricanes should have no problem out-classing the final-time Big West champs. For Pacific to have any chance against Miami, Tony Gill needs to have a hot hand. That being said, there also needs to be a lot of luck and another questionable performance from Miami in order for the Tigers to win.
Miami 79, Pacific 66
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