The last time the No. 5 Miami Hurricanes had to bounce back from a loss was shortly after Christmas, but three players will help the Orange and Green dominate the Virginia Tech Hokies and start a new winning streak tonight.
The Hurricanes are undefeated at home this season and their trio of big men will keep things that way. Seniors Kenny Kadji, Julian Gamble and Reggie Johnson are going to dominate the paint and make Saturday's loss to the Wake Forest Demon Deacons look like an aberration.
All three combined to knock down just seven-of-20 shots against Wake Forest, but the Hokies do not have nearly the same kind of personnel in the post to give the savvy veterans any problems this evening.
Kadji has been struggling with his jump shot as of late and Virginia Tech's weak interior provides the perfect opportunity for the Cameroon native to return to form.
The 6'11", 242-pounder is shooting 48 percent from the field this season, however, Kadji has not eclipsed that mark in Miami's last four games. Kadji hit six-of-10 attempts and poured in 18 points in the Hurricanes' victory over Virginia Tech on Jan. 30.
The Hokies' bigs, Joey Van Zegeren and Jerrell Eddie, will have a tough time chasing Kadji around the perimeter and near the baseline. Kadji should have no problems shooting over either of them en route to a marquee performance.
Who will win this ACC tilt tonight?
While the Hurricanes will look to Kadji for scoring, they are going to need Gamble to make an impact at the defensive end of the floor. Gamble has recorded three blocks or more eight times this season. One of those performances came against the Hokies last month.
Miami simply needs Gamble to pull down his average number of rebounds (5.2 per game) and swat a few shots to force Virginia Tech to shoot contested jumpers for the entire game.
Finally, Johnson is one of the best sixth men in the country and should make the most of his limited minutes at the BankUnited Center tonight.
Johnson managed to pile up 10 rebounds, score four points and block two shots in only 22 minutes of action the first time around against the Hokies. Expect a similar performance from Johnson in the rematch.
High-scoring guards Shane Larkin facing Erick Green will undoubtedly be the most entertaining matchup in this game, but the Hurricanes' post play will be too much for Virginia Tech to overcome.
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