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UNC vs. Miami: 3 things to watch

By Caulton Tudor
caulton.tudor@newsobserver.com

Three things to watch during tonight's UNC at Miami game (8 p.m., ESPN).

1. Outside shooting: On 3-point shots, the Hurricanes are on par with Duke. Miami has made 168 in 23 games, Duke 205 through 25 games.

When Miami won at Durham, 78-74 in overtime on Feb. 5, the Blue Devils couldn’t stop 6-11 Ken Kadji (four 3s) at the top of the key or 6-10, 280-pound Reggie Johnson (27 points, 12 rebounds) inside.

Kadji’s outside presence will pull UNC big John Henson out of the paint much of the game, meaning inside-out half-court passing lanes should be open. If so, the 3-point arc will be difficult for the Heels to defend.

And other than Kadji, the Canes have four more reliable 3-point options _ Malcolm Grant (6-1), Shane Larkin (5-11), Rion Brown (6-6) and Trey McKinney-Jones (6-5).

The Heels rely very little on 3-pointers. They’ve converted 123 in 25 games _ roughly the same as Boston College, Virginia, Maryland and Wake Forest at the bottom of the ACC in that category.

2. NCAA implications: At 15-8 overall, 6-4 in the league and with the big-bang win at Duke, a Canes win would probably move them ahead of Virginia (19-6, 6-5) and N.C. State (18-7, 7-3 entering Thursday’s trip to Duke) in the ACC pecking order.

All eight of Miami’s losses have been legit and four of the eight came fairly early when Johnson and DeQuan Jones were out with injuries.

3. B&B factor: Over the past three games _ wins over Virginia and Maryland and a loss to Duke _ Harrison Barnes and Reggie Bullock just have not shot well.

Barnes, who has been slowed some by an ankle injury, is 17-for-46 (37 percent) during the three games.

Bullock, making his seventh straight start tonight, is 9-for-24 (37.5 percent) over the past three.

It’s not the sort of shooting trend the team needs in late season.

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