Teams: Syracuse Orange (18-13, 10-8) vs. Miami Hurricanes (20-10, 10-8)
Day & Time: Wednesday, March 8, noon ET
Venue: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Line: N/A, just yet
Radio: Syracuse IMG Network, WAER 88.3, Sirius 93/XM 193
Miami Blog: The State of the U
Rivalry: 17-7, Syracuse
Current Streak: 1, Orange
First Meeting: Dave Bing scored 29 points on the road to lead Syracuse to an 86-85 overtime win in 1963. The Hurricanes were so bitter about the loss, the teams wouldn’t play again until the 1990s.
Last Meeting: Syracuse was not looking great heading into the contest, but ran right through Miami at the Carrier Dome this past January, 70-55. Andrew White III led with 22 points, and Tyler Lydon chipped in 20 of his own. That win’s now one of our best on the year, which is a nice card to hold at this juncture.
Head Coaches: SU: Jim Boeheim (41st Year, 1,003-355); Miami: Jim Larranaga (6th Year, 138-67)
Head Coach Bio: Larranaga played for (pre-Big East) Providence, and then headed off to Davidson as an assistant once his playing days were over. He’d get the head gig at (DII) American International, before bouncing back up to DI to be an assistant with Virginia from 1979-86.
At Bowling Green, his first major coaching job, he hung around .500 enough to stick around, but not enough to make the NCAA Tournament. Still, George Mason brought him aboard in 1997, and he had them in the tourney field by year two. The Patriots were an annual contender in the CAA, and Larranaga was the architect of the team’s shocking Final Four run in 2006. That continued success at GMU eventually led to his return to the ACC, at Miami.
The ‘Canes have been a quality program since his 2011 arrival, winning 20 games five times, and making the NCAAs twice (will be three times this year). Under Larranaga, Miami won the 2013 ACC Tournament championship, and has made it to two of the last four Sweet 16s.
Last Year: Miami went 27-8, finishing second in the ACC. They were smoked by Villanova in the South Regional semifinals, 92-69.
Last Game: The ‘Canes fell to rival Florida State on the road, 66-57. A lack of scoring chances (just 43 shots) and a disadvantage on the boards told much of the story in the team’s second straight defeat.
"Fear Me, I've Killed Hundreds of Timelords": Dejan Vasiljevic, of course. The reserve played 28 minutes last time around, making six threes for 18 points on the day. This should not have shocked, since he scores less than six per on an average outing. He’ll likely be a key cog in this offense once again if they hope to beat the zone.
Elsewhere, Kamari Murphy may be the tough assignment for Syracuse, who is typically smaller than opponents and can struggle on the boards. Murphy’s averaging a modest 7.1 points per game, but also pulls down 7.5 rebounds per. As we’ve seen with other big men in the conference (like Ben Lammers), that can create some problems for the Orange.
If Syracuse Wins: They score another top-50 win, which can only help with so little time left before Selection Sunday. Their next opponent, North Carolina, is unlikely to help us in the win department.
If Syracuse Loses: We’re not screwed, but we’re going to be sweating it out quite a bit on Sunday afternoon.
Fun Fact No. 1: Despite the fact that they shared the Big East together for 13 years, these two programs never met in that league’s tournament. SU and Miami will have never met on a neutral floor before Wednesday.
Fun Fact No. 2: We’ve mentioned this before, but when Larranaga first arrive in Coral Gables, he enlisted the help of former Syracuse assistant Bernie Fine to teach the vaunted zone to his Hurricanes. They still play some zone now, as is the case with most ACC teams at this juncture.