The North Carolina Tar Heels will square off against the Miami Hurricanes for the ACC Conference title—a final that perhaps many weren't quite expecting.
A firing Duke Blue Devils were largely expected to be in the mix for the final, but after a shock loss to Maryland, UNC found themselves with a much easier semifinal opponent than first thought. That didn't make their semifinal any easier, but a three-point win was enough to see UNC through to the final.
Having had a somewhat inconsistent year that culminated in a big loss to Duke toward the end of the season, UNC will look to put all of that behind them when they take the court Sunday afternoon for the ACC Conference final. They'll be up against the No. 9 Hurricanes, who have been very impressive throughout the season, and will look to cap it off with a conference title to their name also.
The Tar Heels have shown they have what it takes to be a genuine contender for the title this year; now they simply need to prove that on the court Sunday afternoon. Specifically, there are certain areas that they'll need to excel at if they're going to take down Miami in the final.
Read on to see the top keys for victory for UNC.
Not Allow Miami's Defense to Get Set
The Hurricanes don't have the strongest offense around the country, but they do have one of the top defensive units, and they'll be looking to establish control with that here.
Particularly given the youth existent throughout UNC's roster regarding go-to players, Miami will no doubt look to be aggressive and active early in this one to force about poor shots and options. If UNC can counteract that, however, by moving the ball quickly and not allowing Miami's defense to get set, they'll stand a real chance of forcing the Hurricanes into a style of game they won't want to play.
A shootout against one of the best scoring teams in the country.
The Hurricanes know that UNC is the superior team on offense, and if the Tar Heels can continue to spread the ball quickly around the court, they'll cause them real problems in this one.
Look for quick movement from UNC in transition here.
James Michael McAdoo
There's little doubting the abilities of James Michael McAdoo, with the sophomore forward proving that to be true throughout the regular season. He was the team's leading scorer and go-to player inside the paint throughout 2013—something that yielded great success for UNC as a result.
However, in big games, McAdoo failed to produce when his team needed him most—as both games against Duke showed. The Tar Heels need to ensure that their star doesn't go missing again here against Miami, and keeps working hard to help UNC's offense move forward.
The young forward won't have it easy against a very solid defense—particularly inside—but if McAdoo can set himself up well against the Hurricanes, UNC will stand a real chance at winning this game.
Guard the Deep Ball
If their two regular season matchups are anything to go by, expect Miami to do everything they can to take plenty of three-point attempts against UNC.
The Hurricanes attempted 26 three-pointers in both encounters respectively this season, and unsurprisingly, went on to win both games. They shot at 46.1 percent from deep in those two games against UNC this year, and so you can expect for them to try and do the same here.
The Tar Heels need to ensure that they are getting good pressure on the Hurricanes and not allowing them easy looks outside. Granted some of their inside work may suffer as a result, but given how key these three-pointers were in deciding the two fixtures earlier in the year, it's clear that guarding the three-point shot needs to be a necessity for UNC on defense.
Look for UNC to set up quite high across the perimeter and try to force Miami into making more difficult shots than they would otherwise have expected. And if they don't start to fall in for Miami, look for UNC to come pretty close (if not all the way) to winning the ACC Tournament final in 2013.
What are the keys for victory for UNC vs. Miami?
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