2 game losing streak. Road game. Another slow-paced defensive-minded opponent.
Miami is off to a 2-6 start in the ACC. In no small part because their schedule has been brutal for what should be a middle to lower middle team in the ACC — Syracuse (twice), Duke, FSU, at Maryland.
The team plays a matchup zone defense.
“Theirs is a matchup zone, we haven’t seen a lot of that matchup zone this year. We’ve seen more of it in other years, but not so much this year,” Dixon said. “They also play a little bit of the Syracuse zone, a type of 2-3, but we saw it a little more in the Big East. It is something that coach Larranaga hasn’t played a lot of [in the past], but is this year because he feels it matches his personnel.
“They match up more with their three perimeter guys, they play more man-to-man on the ball than say a 2-3 zone.”
Dixon said the key to Miami’s zone is it slows teams down on offense. That meshes with the Hurricanes’ philosophy of keeping the possessions low and scoring down.
He said the only way to attack it successfully is to be patient. Dixon thought the Panthers were pretty good at that Sunday in the loss against Virginia but noted they were not good at making shots.
“I think we are good against a zone,” Dixon said. “The matchup zone is something that we prepare for, but we are also built to have success against zones because we pass it well and shoot it well. But it is something that we are going to have to be patient with and adjust [to] as they adjust as the game goes on.
The Canes have some length on the perimeter which is why they play the zone.
Lamar Patterson will be a focus for them — as he has been for the past couple of teams. So unless other guys start making shots with more consistency and finishing at (not simply getting to) the basket, that isn’t going to change.
This will be a slow tempo game. Hopefully it will be more along the Clemson game than the Virginia/Cinci style.
Miami media cares little for this sort of thing. Especially on signing day. Their lone story focuses on how there will be four players from Nigeria on the court tonight — not the actual game. As for Talib Zanna, there isn’t much being said about whether his ankle is okay from the nasty roll it got on Sunday.
It’s a 7pm game down in Coral Gables.
The game is on ESPN3.com and ESPN’s FullCourt package. The RSN distribution includes Root Sports — Pittsubrgh, YES, NESN, SportsTime Ohio, Sun Sports and others.