GREENSBORO, N.C. -- The Hurricanes' upset of fifth-seeded Wake Forest Thursday was by far the best thing that has happened for Frank Haith's basketball team since it began the season 15-1. It wasn't just the fact the Canes kept their NIT and NCAA hopes alive, but the way the team played in its 21-point blowout. UM finally showed the energy, aggressiveness and athleticism Haith thought his young team would display more of throughout the season.
So the question now becomes: Was it just a one-game deal? Or, are we going to see this style of play from the Canes moving forward? Is DeQuan Jones going to go back into a shell? Are Reggie Johnson and Julian Gamble going to continue to control the paint with their size and athleticism?
The biggest thing injured senior Dwayne Collins said has been lacking this year for some of the young guys has been establishing consistent confidence. At times, he says, they don't realize how talented they are. "With DJ it's all about his confidence," Collins said. "When he has confidence, he can do anything. [Thursday] He just played free. He's a great player. But a lot of times he playes with a lot on his mind."
"I've been telling Reggie he's a beast forever. But sometimes, he doesn't believe it."
The Canes have won first round ACC games a few times before. This is the fourth time in six seasons UM has won a first round game at the tournament. But long post season runs aren't something the Hurricanes are known for. Miami has never won more than one conference tournament game in a season and reached the semifinal round just twice in the Big East (1999, 2000).
So, if the Canes win today it won't just be a great step forward for this team, but for the program, too.
Here are today's projected starting lineups...
UM (19-12) Yr. Stats
C Reggie Johnson, 6-10, 295 R-Fr. 6.2 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 12.7 mpg
F Julian Gamble, 6-9, 255 R-So. 3.5 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 0.8 bpg
F DeQuan Jones, 6-6 219 So. 5.3 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 0.5 bpg
G James Dews, 6-4, 213 Sr. 11.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 1.6 apg
G Durand Scott, 6-3, 195 Fr. 9.7 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 3.5 apg
Virginia Tech (23-7) Yr. Stats
C Victor Davila, 6-8, 245 So. 5.2 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 0.8 bpg
F Jeff Allen, 6-7, 230 Jr. 12.0 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 1.8 spg
F Terrell Bell, 6-6, 205 Jr. 5.8 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 1.1 bpg
G Malcolm Delaney, 6-3, 190 Jr. 20.5 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 4.1 apg
G Dorenzo Hudson, 6-5, 220 Jr. 14.4 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 2.0 apg
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