Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#841 Miami - FL 140 vs.
#842 Virginia Tech -4
Wednesday, February 19, 2020 at 9:00pm EST
Written by Benjamin Hayes

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Miami-Florida travels to Blacksburg to take on Virginia Tech on Wednesday night at 9pmET. Virginia Tech is 6-8 in the ACC and 15-10 overall, while Miami is 5-10 and 13-12 overall. Neither team is going dancing at this point with the Hokies (76 Net Ranking) and Hurricanes (102nd) looking like NIT teams at best at the moment.

Earlier this season, the Hurricanes were victorious over Va. Tech 71-61 on Jan. 28 from Coral Gables.

Finding some momentum

You can never count out a Jim Larranaga team out. His squad lost three straight games and then followed ith with an 85-58 win over Boston College on Feb. 12 and a 71-54 victory over Wake Forest on Saturday. Beating up on a bad Wake Forest squad doesn't mean a whole lot, but the Boston College win was impressive. Now, they have to put that together on the road. Guard Chris Lykes and freshman guard led the Canes with 13 points apiece. Defensively, they got the job done by holding the Demon Deacs to just 39% shooting and forced 14 turnovers. Miami also outrebounded Wake Forest 41-35.

"I think the guys are sharing the ball, not turning it over and getting good shots," Larrañaga said after the game to Miami.rivals.com. "We actually missed some shots we normally make and I was a little bit surprised about that because we played such great offense the last two days in practice."

According to KenPom, Miami is ranked just 104th overall, 53rd in adjusted offensive efficiency and 189th in adjusted defensive efficiency. Defense has been the key issue for the Hurricanes, who are allowing 73.8 points per game on 45.3% shooting (296th) and 34.7% from beyond the arc (273rd). They are also terrible on the boards, getting outrebounded by 5.4 per game. Lykes leads the Canes with 15.2 points per game and 1.0 steals.

Streak is broken at home

Virginia Tech broke a five-game losing streak on Saturday with a 67-57 win over Pittsburgh at home. Defense was the key for the Hokies, who held the Panthers to just 35% shooting (5-21 3pt), Va Tech shot 44% from the field and 12 of 32 from long distance. P.J. Horne (7.6ppg) had 18 points to lead the Hokies.

This was a solid win for the Hokies, but at 93 in the KenPom rankings, they have a lot of work to do. They also have a tough schedule remaining with Duke, Virginia, Louisville coming up in three of their last five games after they face Miami.

The Hokies need to improve their offense, which ranks 105th in adjusted offensive efficiency and defense, which ranks 91st in adjusted defensive efficiency. They shoot 43.2% from the field and 35.7% from beyond the arc. They allow 64.6 points per game on 41.% shooting (32% 3pt). They could also use more balance as Landers Solley leads the team with 17.2 points per game on 39.9% shooting (33.9% 3pt). But there are no other players averaging in double digits.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

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Neither squad is an NCAA Tournament team, but both have a lot to play for. And who knows? If you get a couple of upsets, you can get back in the picture. Miami has the better coach in Larranaga and a team that could finally be ready to take over. They didn't just win their last two games, but they dominated using defense. Virginia Tech has been really bad lately, even in wins. They have covered just once in their last eight games.

Prediction: Miami-Florida +4.5

Full-Game Total Pick

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Virginia Tech plays at a slow pace at 298th in the nation. They aren't going to win too many shootouts. Miami held them to just 61 points in the first game that went well under. Miami's defense has held their last two opponents to 54 and 58 points respectively. That's how they need to win and both teams will need to slow the pace down to get the victory.

Prediction: Under 139.5

Half-Time Side Pick

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I don't like this Virginia Tech team. They are not a contender in the ACC, while Miami has a chance to at least make some waves and move up in the league. They play sturdy defense and they have the confidence to come out strong, especially since they handled the Hokies in the first game.

Prediction: Miami +1.5 first half
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Written By Benjamin Hayes

Ben has been a sports writer for over 30 years, dabbling in college and pro basketball, college and pro football, baseball, college lacrosse, minor league baseball and even college gymnastics. He's also been involved in the gaming industry for over 25 years and has been looking to beat the books since he was 13!