North Florida will play its first NCAA Tournament-capable team of 2016-17. By all accounts, it’s the most significant home regular-season opponent for the Ospreys (1-1) since EVER. The Miami Hurricanes (1-0) are one of the more physical teams in one of the deepest, most competitive years for the ACC. Miami has just one game under its belt, but the Canes can roll out eight to nine players that run their system well.
Tonight at the UNF Arena will be one of the most memorable nights for fans of the North Florida program. No matter the outcome, this game shows how far the Ospreys have soared under head coach Matthew Driscoll. Tip is at 7 p.m. with coverage on ESPN3 and 1010XL.
It will be the first time these two meet at the UNF Arena. Miami leads the series 3-0. The Ospreys have never beaten an ACC opponent – 0-13 all-time.
A career-high of 37 points from Dallas Moore will go down as one of his great scoring feats of his collegiate career. The senior scored 10 points in the first 2:12 of Monday’s win. He needs to be closer to that than the 1-for-13 game at Auburn.
The Hurricanes captains Davon Reed and Ja’Quan Newton are the lifeblood of this year’s squad. Reed is a three-year captain, and Newton was an incredible sixth man last season. The quickness and matchups of the guards will be strong tonight.
The Ospreys will stick with Dallas Moore (#14), Aaron Bodager (12), Nick Malonga (23), Chris Davenport (35) and Romelo Banks (33).
The Hurricanes went with this group for the season opener – Ja’Quan Newton (#0), Davon Reed (#5), Anthony Lawrence (3), Kamari Murphy (21) and Ebuka Izundu (15).
About Miami (FL):
The Hurricanes – believe or not – are in retool mode and can still make another run in March. Head coach Jim Larranaga has twice won ACC Coach of the Year (2013 and 2016). The Hurricanes have Coach L’s winning personality – 589 career victories. He has 10 scholarship players for this season with a group of five newcomers.
Miami won its season opener against Western Carolina 92-43. The Canes had five players in double figures. The Ospreys will put up a much bigger fight than the Catamounts.
The Ospreys need more senior scoring from Aaron Bodager and Chris Davenport. They’re combining for just over 10 points per game.
Will Wajid Aminu lock in for a double-double? He’s nearing a monster game. It is a matter of when.
One name for the Hurricanes: Ebuka Izundu. The 6-10 sophomore had 14 points in 13 minutes from the season opener.
How UNF Can Win:
Limit turnovers and stop fouling as much. Miami is very talented. North Florida does not want a repeat of last year’s NIT game against the Gators. The Ospreys can keep it close, but the Hurricanes will pull away in the second half.