Matchup of Inconsistency: Louisville vs Miami

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Tonight in the ACC Louisville travels to Miami. This is the first time both have squared off as Louisville being a new member to the ACC. The Cardinal are four point road favorites after a tremendous come from behind win over North Carolina.

The come from behind win helped stop a possible three game losing streak to the Tar Heels. Last year Carolina had won and they had also won the first matchup of this season.

Does that win and Louisville being ranked in the top ten warrant a four point number against Miami?

It’s hard to say yes or no on this game. Usually one can look at a point spread and reason for justification on the number. But neither the Cardinal or Hurricane have been consistent enough to field a proper gauge on this game.

To me this game will be a permanent marker on both team’s seasons. Miami can reverse course on a mediocre season and get back into the thick of things for an automatic bid. A win over Louisville and already over Duke should put them in strong consideration.

Louisville on the other hand has had their struggles protecting leads all season long. Pitino is missing both the effective press he had for four years and a strong big man inside to protect the rim. Harrell is a big body but by trimming his weight he has left Louisville vulnerable inside.

In prior years offensively Louisville could co-depend on Luke Hancock or Russ Smith to carry their team. In fact last year they primarily went to both in second halves exclusively. This year they have not found their go to guy especially outside of twelve feet (Harrell).

Miami has the team defense to stay in this game against Louisville. The question is can they avoid mental miscues of poor offense? They’ve struggled with size all season because they lack interior strength offensively. Attacking the guards on the perimeter forces poor shots and quick transition points. That’s how Florida State and countless other teams have been able to defeat Miami, who shoots over 23 three pointers a game.

This game will likely draw the most action on the board tonight. In my opinion it’s one that should be scouted to see which direction either team will go. Past Pitino teams would elevate their play and carry it forward to March Madness. Miami is the unknown. The talent is there but will the execution be there at home in a must-win situation?


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