The Miami basketball team will open the ACC Tournament on Wednesday against Clemson likely without junior point guard Chris Lykes. The Hurricanes defeated the Tigers on the road New Year’s Eve.
The Miami basketball team enters the ACC Tournament after a 15-15 regular season and 7-13 record in the ACC. The Hurricanes earned a much needed 69-65 overtime victory over Syracuse on Saturday that secured a first-round bye in the ACC Tournament. Miami and Clemson tipoff the second round on Wednesday.
Pittsburgh and North Carolina won first-round games on Tuesday. The victory over the Orange also broke a three-game Miami losing streak entering the season finale and allowed Seniors Dejan Vasiljevic and Keith Stone to win their final home game at the Watsco Center. Miami won at Clemson 73-68 in overtime New Year’s Eve.
The Hurricanes victory over the Tigers was in the teams’ only meeting this season. Clemson ended the regular season with an identical 15-15 record and finished 9-11 in the ACC. The Tigers enter the ACC Tournament as the eighth seed and the Hurricanes are the ninth seed. Clemson has lost three of their last four.
The victory by Miami at Littlejohn Coliseum to close 2019 was impressive. Clemson defeated Duke, Florida State and Louisville at home this season. That was a very different Miami basketball team. Chris Lykes who is expected to be out on Wednesday with facial fractures suffered last week led Miami with 27 in the victory.
Chris Lykes has been named an All-ACC Honorable Mention. pic.twitter.com/aq4lD30J6A
— Canes Hoops (@CanesHoops) March 9, 2020
GAME 31 | MARCH 11, 2020 • 12 P.M. ET • GREENSBORO, N.C.
 Miami Hurricanes (15-15, 7-13 ACC)
Head Coach: Jim Larrañaga (Providence, 1971)
Record at UM: 190-112 (ninth season), Career Record: 660-446 (36th season)
 Clemson Tigers (15-15, 9-11 ACC)
Head Coach: Brad Brownell (DePauw, 1991)
Record at CU: 184-142 (10th season), Career Record: 351-227 (19th season)
Under Jim Larranaga, Miami has been excellent in the ACC Tournament. The Hurricanes have won at least one game in the conference tournament during the eight seasons Larranaga has been in charge of the Miami basketball program. The Hurricanes lone loss came in the quarterfinals to North Carolina in 2018.
Miami had a bye for the first two rounds of the 2018 ACC Tournament as the three seed. The Hurricanes earned that right after a stunning near halfcourt buzzer-beater at North Carolina on Senior day in Chapel Hill. Miami went on to lose to Loyola in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on another near buzzer-beater.
All-Time: 13-14 (13-11 since rebirth) | Home: 8-3 | Away: 3-8 | Neutral: 2-3 | Coach L: 7-3 (7-3 at Miami)
Streak: Won 2 | Last Meeting: 73-68 OT road win (Dec. 31, 2019) | First Meeting: 98-96 neutral-site loss (Jan. 5, 1956)
ESPN • Play-by-Play: Dave O’Brien • Color: Cory Alexander • Reporter: Allison Williams | WatchESPN | WQAM 560 AM • Joe Zagacki | WQAM.Radio.com
Playing without Lykes will be a challenge for Miami. Without their star point guard, the Hurricanes will likely start Vasiljevic, junior Kameron McGusty and freshman Isaiah Wong against the Tigers. Other than a poor two-game stretch against Georgia Tech and Virginia, Wong has been steady the final 12 games of the season.
Including scoring 19 points in a loss at North Carolina on January 25, Wong has averaged 14.7 points per game, 4.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists and is shooting 48.7 percent from the floor, 41.2 percent on three-point attempts and 92.3 percent from the foul line in the last 12 games. Wong needs to contribute to beat Clemson.