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February 18, 2006

SCOUTING REPORT: Miami at Duke

Miami (14-11, 6-6) at Duke (24-1, 12-0)
When: 5:30 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 19
Where: Cameron Indoor Stadium
TV: FSN
Radio: Duke Radio Network

Series: Duke leads 6-1
Last Meeting: Mar. 3, 2005-@ DU 83, Mia 59

Coach

Frank Haith earned a lot of well deserved praise last year when he took Miami to the NIT in his first season at the helm.

Taking over a program that was in very poor condition following Perry Clark's tenure, Haith had Miami in the NCAA Tournament hunt until a late season slide knocked them out of the picture. Accomplishing that in the program's first season of ACC play made it even more impressive.

In his second season, Miami may be following the same pattern. The Hurricanes were being looked at as a formidable NCAA team but have lost three games in a row.

Haith is 30-24 in his tenure at Miami.

Miami results

Texas-Arlington W 76-65
Air Force L 57-53
Wisc.-Green Bay W 80-54
Morgan State W 83-51
North Carolina A&T W 87-62
at Temple L 73-56
at Michigan L 74-53
Birmingham-Southern W 82-55
Wofford W 71-40
at NC State L 81-69
Florida L 77-67
Stetson W 65-56
Louisville W 58-43
Sacred Heart W 63-57
Maryland W 84-70
at North Carolina W 81-70
Clemson W 62-38
Boston College L 65-61
at Virginia L 71-51
at Florida State W 84-78 (OT)
Wake Forest W 78-69
at Georgia Tech W 70-53
NC State L 86-77 (2OT)
North Carolina L 80-70
at Boston College L 65-54

Did you know...?

J.J. Redick needs just 30 points to surpass Johnny Dawkins as Duke's all time leading scorer and is 61 points shy of passing Wake Forest's Dickie Hemric as the ACC's all time leader (Yeah, you all probably knew that already).

Miami's Guillermo Diaz seems to play his best against the best competition. In 18 games against ranked opponents over the last two seasons, Diaz has averaged 20.1 points per game and has shot better than 40 percent from three point range.

Since Miami's Anthony Harris returned from a foot injury on December 13th, the guard trio of Harris, Diaz, and Robert Hite have combined for 40 points or more in 13 games, 50 points or more in six games, and 60 points or more in three games.

Miami has beaten at least one ranked opponent in 12 straight seasons, including two victories over ranked teams in 2005-06 (Maryland and North Carolina).

ALL EYES ON...

GUILLERMO DIAZ-One of the ACC's top scorers, Diaz has the ability to put the Hurricanes on his back. As mentioned above, he steps his scoring up against good teams, and he'll be looking to do the same against Duke. In games against the Blue Devils last year, Diaz averaged 19.5 per game. He had scored at least 18 points in five straight games until putting up just nine in a loss to Boston College on Wednesday night. He has hit at least a trio of three pointers in 12 games this season, including four outings with four long range baskets.

HURRICANE SCOUTING

ANTHONY HARRIS-The junior guard from Chicago is a big piece of glue that helps hold the high powered Miami backcourt together. After missing the first part of the season with a foot injury, he came back on December 3rd against Birmingham Southern. Since his return, Miami has gone 11-7. In those 18 games, Harris has had nine games with four or more assists. Seven of those nine games have been ACC contests. He could afford to take care of the ball better, but his presence is a big boost for the Hurricanes. He can also knock down open perimeter looks when presented with them.

ROBERT HITE-Diaz's most well known running mate, Hite can pump in the points just as efficiently when he's hot. He's lights out from behind the three point line. He's averaging 20.2 points over his last six games, including a 31 point outburst against Florida State and a 25 point effort against Wake Forest. Hite was criticized last year for inconsistent offensive play. He's gotten better this year at putting the ball on the floor, allowing him to have just two games of single digit point output. He also leads the team in steals.

Anthony King-The junior post player emerged as a sophomore in 2004-05, ranking fifth in the ACC in rebounding an earning a spot on the league's all defensive team. He can score capably as well, as he has done in nine games this year where he's been in double figures. His niche is defense and rebounding though. Duke will have to keep him off the offensive glass and prevent him from earning garbage baskets on second chance opportunities. He far and away leads Miami in blocked shots and will try to prevent Duke's Shelden Williams and emerging Josh McRoberts from having their way inside.

Gary Hamilton-Since being inserted in the starting lineup against Lousiville, Hamilton has given Miami an added rebounding presence inside. The 6-foot-10, 250 pound senior has seen his production drop in recent games, partly due to some foul problems. He has a tireless motor and plays with great energy though, which forces Haith to keep running him out on the floor. His toughness brings an added element to the lineup.

The bench

Haith has been using basically an eight man rotation in conference play, with occasional contributions from a ninth man, most often freshman Brian Asbury. Asbury was widely regarded as the best prospect in Miami's 2005 recruiting class because of his 6-foot-6 height and good stroke from outside. He has yet to really find that stroke in college and is still looking for a breakout performance. Denis Clemente gets the most minutes off the bench. The true freshman has been the biggest contributor of the new Hurricanes and gives Miami a true point guard and he's been on the floor for nearly 20 minutes a game in ACC play. Raymond Hicks will fill some minutes inside at 6-foot-7, 232 pounds. Jimmy Graham is another rugged inside player who will look to be a physical presence against Duke. If nothing else, he'll provide five fouls against Williams and McRoberts.

Analysis and prediction

Miami is finishing off a two game road trip that started at Boston College. Entering these two games, the Hurricanes knew that just one road win would go an enormous distance in making them an attractive NCAA Tournament team.

With the loss to BC, Cameron Indoor Stadium is the venue they will have to get the W in.

The place is sure to be rocking with J.J. Redick staring down the school's all time scoring record. Considering Miami has been surrendering nearly 40 percent three point shooting in ACC play and 45 percent total shooting, one has to like Redick's chances.

As long as Duke can avoid turning the ball over, Redick will get his points.

The Hurricanes have the elements that can give Duke trouble: athletic and versatile guards and an interior presence in King that can be a problem on the offensive glass.

Those ingredients will likely keep Miami competitive into the second half, but by the time this game is over, Duke will walk off a winner and Redick will be the best scorer in Blue Devil history.

Duke 80-69

Redick 34 points-2,560 all time to eclipse Dawkins.

The usual weekly Sunday NCAA Tournament bracket projection will appear on Monday due to the Duke/Miami game.


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