ATLANTA -- Checking in from the Georgia Dome before tipoff. For those of you at work and nowhere near a radio or TV, I'll be here to provide updates and highlights from today's game. You can also follow the game on the ACC's website.
> UM's Adrian Thomas and Jack McClinton were honored Thursday with special awards from the ACC.
Thomas will presented the Bob Bradley Spirit & Courage Award at halftime of today's game. The award, named in honor of lthe ate Clemson sports information director who passed away in 2000 following a long bought with bone cancer, is given annually to a male or female basketball player, coach or team administrator who has overcome significant injury, illness or adversity in life to become a valuable contributor to their program. Thomas obviously personifies that for the Canes, battling back from season-ending injuries twice in his career. This year he's become a good three-point threat for Frank Haith.
McClinton, who was honored with All-ACC First Team honors and All-ACC Academic honors earlier this week, was named the recipient of the 2009 Skip Prosser Award emblematic of the top scholar-athlete in men's basketball. Prosser coached at Wake Forest for six seasons before passing away in 2007.
FIRST HALF HIGHLIGHTS...
> Another terribly slow start for the Canes who once again can't seem to get going early. Virginia Tech jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead on back-to-back three-pointers. Brian Asbury finally got UM on the board after an 0-for-5 start with a jumper at the 17:07 mark. Jack McClinton finally looks like he's over his sprained left knee. But he's started 0-for-2 with a missed three-pointer.
> This looks like the same Canes team who was in Atlanta last week to play Georgia Tech. UM started 1 of 9 from the field. Virginia Tech is having no trouble whatsoever picking apart Miami's zone defense, starting 6 of 9 from the field. Right now the Hokies came out with the right game plan and UM didn't.
> It's now 22-8 with 6:51 left to play in the first half and nothing is going right at all for the Canes. UM is 4 of 20 from the field and has a high number of turnovers. Even the open three-pointers are not falling.
> Miami has gone on a 7-2 run since falling behind by 14. Adrian Thomas hit UM's first three-pointer with 6:46 left. McClinton finally got on the board with a runner with 3:29 left. Its been an ugly ball game.
> Just when you think the Canes are doomed, they rely on their old best friend -- the three-point shot -- to get right back in it. Adrian Thomas has three now, inlcuding two during UM's 9-0 run to close out the half. McClinton had the other.
ON THE ROAD IN THE NIT: I had an interesting conversation with UM radio announcer Joe Zagacki over the break. Turns out if UM goes to the NIT, they'll have to play all of their games on the road. The BankUnited Center has been rented out according to Zagacki leaving the Canes without a home venue.
SECOND HALF HIGHLIGHTS...
> The Hokies have stretched their lead back out to eight points thanks to some strong play from A.D. Vassallo. VT has made a concerted effort to drive the ball more to the basket and its leading to trips from the free throw line. Jimmy Graham has come through with a few keys player early for Miami despite continuing to struggle from the line himself. He had a steal and dunk and grabbed an offensive rebound and scored on a put back.
> Graham has now missed nine consecutive free throws dating back to the Boston College game when he was 2 for 4. That's not the only problem UM is having in the second half. The Canes are just lucky Virginia Tech hasn't been able to pull away.
> Game, set, match. Since Lance Hurdle hit a three-pointer with 10:56 left to trim the Hokies lead to 43-37, it's been all Virginia Tech -- and fast. Following a J.T. Thompson jumper, the Hokies turned two Adrian Thomas into quick points before Dorenzo Hudson capped the 8-0 run with a putback. It's 51-37 and it feels like there are only 9 minutes left to live for the Hurricanes' NCAA tournament bubble.