Virginia, now ranked 6th, faces 22nd ranked Miami in the first conference road test of the season for the Wahoos. 8:30 PM Eastern Tuesday night on ACC Network.
Head Coach Jim Larranaga has two starters back from last season’s Elite Eight team. He added a pair of high-end transfers to the mix as well. They’re one of the top offensive teams in the country (12th by KenPom), but not so great defensively (123rd). That’s a similar split as they had last year.
The Hurricanes enter with an 11-1 record, already 2-0 in the ACC with wins over NC State and Louisville. Their only loss came at the hands of Maryland. Non-conference wins include Rutgers, Central Florida, and Providence. So far, they look like an upper echelon ACC team. The efficiency formulas don’t love them nearly as much as the polls though. They’re at 60th in the NCAA’s NET rankings.
Isaiah Wong 6’3 Sr Guard (16.7 PPG). He’s as good of a bucket-getter as there is in the league. Has taken on more of a playmaker role this year, leading the team with 4.4 assists.
Nigel Pack 6’0 Jr Guard (11.3 PPG). First-team All-Big 12 at Kansas State last season. He hasn’t shot the 3 nearly as well so far, at 33%. Missed Saturday’s game with an illness.
Wooga Poplar 6’5 So Guard (8.3 PPG). Athletic slashing guard is having a breakout sophomore year.
Jordan Miller 6’6 Sr Forward (15.1 PPG). Super senior is relied on to score more this year. Really a big guard at the 4 spot, he’s a tough cover.
Norchad Omier 6’7 Jr Forward (13.8 PPG). Arkansas State transfer is a beast. Physical and athletic, he dominates the glass. Has scored in double figures in every game but one. Their only shot blocker too. He’s their most important player.
Sophomore guard Bensley Joseph (6.4 PPG) is getting heavy minutes off the bench. He leads the team at 42% from three. Junior guard Harlond Beverly (2.3 PPG) is playing more lately after working his way back from injury. He’s really good defensively. And senior forward Anthony Walker (2.8 PPG) backs up the frontline.
-They play small. UVA will probably match with Vander Plas/Gardner when Shedrick rests. Tough defensive assignments all around. Miami has been vulnerable to giving up offensive rebounds though.
-Miami is great at getting steals and turning them into easy points. Must take care of the ball.
-They’re an okay 3-point shooting team, 34%. But great inside the arc, 57%. Their small lineup provides spacing and they’re really good at creating off the bounce. 2nd chance points are a big part of the equation too, led by Omier.
-In UVA’s two wins over Miami last year, Isaiah Wong only averaged 8 points on 35 FG%. Total credit to Reece Beekman. It’ll be a big ask for Reece this time at less than 100% on a short turnaround.