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GAME THREAD: FAU vs Miami - 12/17/11 @ 12:00PM

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GAME THREAD: FAU vs Miami - 12/17/11 @ 12:00PM




What: Florida Atlantic (4-6) vs Miami (5-4) -

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2011 Orange Bowl Classic

When: Saturday, Dec. 17th @ 12:00 PM EST

Where: BankAtlantic Center

TV: FSN

Live Video: None

Internet Broadcast: Here

Live Stats: None

Hurricanes Team Site: Here


Probable Starters:

FAU

G Alex Tucker 3.1 ppg
G Dennis Mavin 4.6 ppg
G Greg Gantt 12.9 ppg
G Pablo Bertone 11.0 ppg
F Kore White 9.8 ppg


Miami

G Durand Scott 11.9 ppg
G Malcolm Grant 15.8 ppg
G Trey McKinney Jones 8.0 ppg
F Erik Swoope 5.2 ppg
F Kenny Kadji 7.3 ppg


The series

Miami owns the all-time series 20-1. Last year's meeting in the 2011 NIT resulted in a 85-62 loss for the Owls in Coral Gables. Although FAU placed three is double figures (Gantt 17, Mavin 15, Taylor 10), the Canes shot a whopping 60% from the floor for the contest. Conversely, FAU had troubles with the rock in hand, particularly from long range where they posted a 4-of-16 effort (25%). The teams have met once before in the Orange Bowl Classic, with FAU losing 87-69 back in 2009.

Owls at a Glance

Coming into last Tuesdays game against #16 Mississippi State Florida Atlantic was a heavy underdog at +14. Thanks to some more "availability issues" for the Bulldogs, they not only made a game of things but had the home team on the ropes late in the second half. However, the continued arch nemesis of beating themselves at the charity stripe played its hand when push came to shove in a 75-68 loss.

"It's ridiculous, 7-of-18 from the free throw line, that's where we lost the game", said Coach Mike Jarvis Afterwards. "You make 'em in practice, you make 'em against Warner Southern, and tonight when you got to make 'em, you don't make 'em. There's no excuse."

On a positive note, Ray Taylor was solid for the second straight game, returning to his former self once again while rattling in 20 points to set a season high. After a horrific start to the year, he's posted an average of 63.0% from the floor and a 67.7% mark from down town in the last two games. It appears that he may have hit stride now, which is a dimension the team was sorely lacking up until now.

Remaining true to the ever perfectionist coach that he is though, Jarvis continues to challenge his star point to rise higher.

"He scored, he played a very good game", Jarvis said. "But, can he play better? You bet your life he can."

Fellow guard Pablo Bertone's stock is also on the rise. After seeing averages of just 2.8 ppg and 1.4 rpg as a freshman in 2010-11, the Argentinian has upped the mark this year to 11.0ppg and a team best 6.0 rpg at present.

Jarvis will square off against a familiar face in that of new Cane's coach Jim Larranaga on Saturday. Larranaga is the former head man of George Mason, who the Owls were defeated by 66-51 last season in Fairfax. Having been around quite some time himself, Larranaga has complied a 475-338 (58.43%) overall record in 28 seasons. For those interested, Jarvis has a slim advantage in win percentage at 58.46% (366-260).


Hurricanes at a Glance

Miami is lead by Malcolm Grant's 15.8 ppg. The long baller has nailed at least one three pointer for the last 32 straight games dating back to December, 2009 and paced the ACC in 3PT% in 2010-11 (42.8%). Durand Scott is a close second at 11.9 ppg and also paves the way on the glass, and in distribution, for the Canes with averages of 5.0 rpg and 3.7 apg respectively.

Grants 17 points against West Virginia last Saturday wasn't enough, as the Mountaineers came away with a 77-66 win in Morgantown. The Canes actually lead at the break, but a second half drought that resulted in just three points over a nine minute span vaulted WVU into a 60-42 lead Miami could never recover from.

When he originally took the job, Larranaga had 10 returners available on the roster. That number declined to just six in November due to a rash of front court injuries. One of those was 6-10, 300lb  center Reggie Johnson, who underwent knee replacement surgery over the summer. However the big fellow just may make it into Saturday's tilt having practiced the last two weeks and received clearance from medical staff.

Teammates note that just his size alone is enough to cause a shift in the flow of the game.

“With him he doesn’t even have to score, he doesn’t have to rebound. Just being in the middle, people worry about him", said Kenny Kadji, a 6-11 four man who has tried to fill the void left by Johnson. "He’s so big. He can just affect the game in so many ways.”

UM has advanced to the postseason five times in seven seasons, with four NIT appearances and one NCAA appearance. They are hopeful that trend will continue under Larranaga, who took his former Patriot team to five NCAA Tournament appearances since 1999, including the 2006 Final Four.

The Hurricanes have held five of their last six opponents to a 25% shooting percentage from long distance, and are 5-11 overall in the Orange Bowl Classic since beginning play in 1994.

ACC coaches projected a fifth place finish for UM in 2011-12.


Latest Line:

UM -8.5


Owl's Nest Prediction

If FAU can continue to shoot the way they have the last two contests, an upset is not only possible, it could be likely. But for some reason the Owls have always had trouble against The U. Call it fate, call it nerves. Call it whatever you want. But we have to call it a somewhat close loss for the Owls based on the tale of the tape. Closer than the last two, that is.

UM -7
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Re: Game Preview: FAU vs Miami - 12/17/11 @ 12:00PM

I feel like if there was ever a year for us to beat them, it'd be this year. Hopefully Reggie doesn't have much of an impact and  I know their bench is pretty thin. Hopefully we can wear them down with fresh legs and strong shooting. I feel pretty confident. Should be a good game. How many of you guys are going? I'll be heading down with two of my friends.
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Re: Game Preview: FAU vs Miami - 12/17/11 @ 12:00PM

I for one am heading down.
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Re: Game Preview: FAU vs Miami - 12/17/11 @ 12:00PM

FAUfasho said

I feel like if there was ever a year for us to beat them, it'd be this year. Hopefully Reggie doesn't have much of an impact and  I know their bench is pretty thin. Hopefully we can wear them down with fresh legs and strong shooting. I feel pretty confident. Should be a good game. How many of you guys are going? I'll be heading down with two of my friends.

Good call out FAUfasho…like MState, the Canes do have some issues with available players…if there ever were a time to "sneak up", it is now.

The line confidence shows that as well…if they were a full go, we would likely be seeing +15 numbers for the Owls.

Hopefully, the guys can continue to knock it down from long range…UM is good at defending the perimeter, which is a by product of having their smaller line-up as of late. Ironically, that plays against FAU though…
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Re: Game Preview: FAU vs Miami - 12/17/11 @ 12:00PM

Gregs not playing  :-[

It's Owl Time!
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Re: Game Preview: FAU vs Miami - 12/17/11 @ 12:00PM

Section 119. Go Owls!
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Re: Game Preview: FAU vs Miami - 12/17/11 @ 12:00PM

I wish I could make it but I looked up tickets and I can't afford that much right now. Should be at the next home game though!

P.S. I don't respond to guest posts. All guests are encouraged to register with the site.
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Re: Game Preview: FAU vs Miami - 12/17/11 @ 12:00PM

I got "free" tickets through FAU with my season tickets but just realized theyre in 129...I might as well sit in the bathroom!
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Re: Game Preview: FAU vs Miami - 12/17/11 @ 12:00PM

TeamBeer said

I got "free" tickets through FAU with my season tickets but just realized theyre in 129…I might as well sit in the bathroom!

I know.  The last time we played in the Classic, the season ticket holders had seats right behind the basket near the floor.

Sounds like they didn't get a specific section assigned this year.

I guess that's what happens when the Gators bring thousands of fans and we bring 100 fans.
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Re: Game Preview: FAU vs Miami - 12/17/11 @ 12:00PM

PowerOwl said

Gregs not playing  :-[

Nope…he's wearing a boot on the left ankle…
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