Miami-Florida Hurricanes vs. Duke Blue Devils Pick & Prediction FEBRUARY 21st 2024

The eighth-ranked Duke Blue Devils, who have won 15 of their last 17 games, are set to visit the Miami Hurricanes in an Atlantic Coast Conference game on Wednesday night in Coral Gables, Fla.

Duke (20-5, 11-3 ACC) has won four straight games and is a lock to make the NCAA Tournament.

Miami (15-11, 6-9), which reached the NCAA’s Final Four last season, has lost a season-worst four straight games. To return to the NCAA’s field of 68, they will likely need to win the ACC’s postseason tournament.

Duke has a young team powered by sophomores Kyle Filipowski, Mark Mitchell and Tyrese Proctor.

Filipowski leads Duke in scoring (17.3), rebounds (8.3) and blocks (1.7). Mitchell is averaging 12.9 points and Proctor, who missed Duke’s previous game due to a concussion, is averaging 10.0 points.

Another Duke standout is true freshman Jared McCain, who is averaging 13.8 points. McCain is coming off a 35-point game in a 76-67 win over Florida State on Saturday. He shot 8 of 11 from 3-point range.

He tied Zion Williamson’s single-game school record for most points by a freshman. McCain also broke JJ Reddick’s single-game school record for most 3-pointers by a freshman.

“That’s crazy,” McCain said. “That’s wild company to be with.”

Duke’s top “veteran” is fourth-year guard Jeremy Roach, who is averaging 14.0 points and a team-high 1.2 steals. He also leads the Blue Devils in 3-point shooting percentage (44.8).

Miami, however, is 3-1 against Duke over the previous three regular seasons.

The Hurricanes could surely use the lift a victory over Duke would provide. Miami has had a string of tough-luck losses this season.

It started with a Jan. 6 game at Wake Forest. Miami would have won that game had Matthew Cleveland’s short jumper not gone in and out of the bucket. Wake Forest went on to win 86-82 in overtime.

Two weeks later, Miami lost 72-69 at Syracuse on a Quadir Copeland 3-pointer at the buzzer.

And, on Feb. 10, Miami battled then-No. 3 North Carolina before falling 75-72.

Had Miami won those three games, things would be a lot different in the standings. It might have made a difference in momentum, too.

Instead, the Hurricanes are suffering through their worst losing streak since they dropped six straight in February and March of 2021.

The Hurricanes this season are led by Nicaraguan-born center Norchad Omier, who leads the team in scoring (17.8) and rebounds (9.8). He is relentless on the boards, gobbling up a team-high 3.0 offensive rebounds per game, and he is wildly popular everywhere he goes.

“We always joke with him that he’s going to be the next president of Nicaragua,” Hurricanes guard Nijel Pack said.

Pack, meanwhile, missed Miami’s most recent game — an 85-77 loss at Boston College on Saturday — due to a leg injury.

It is possible Pack could return on Wednesday, and the Hurricanes could use his long-distance shooting. Pack ranks third on the team in scoring (13.7), and he is first in assists (3.6).

Cleveland (14.0) and Wooga Poplar (13.7) are Miami’s other double-figure scorers.

Like Duke, Miami is a solid 3-point shooting team. The Hurricanes are third in the ACC in shooting percentage from long range at 37.2 percent (Duke leads at 37.6 percent). Poplar leads the team at 42.9 percent, with freshman Kyshawn George also better than 40 percent (40.8 percent).

–Field Level Media

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