Both coming off losses, Miami and Virginia Tech prepare for ACC clash

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Miami and Virginia Tech are both long on experience and short on depth.

On Wednesday night, when the Hurricanes visit the Hokies in an ACC game at Blacksburg, Va., there's one major difference between the teams.

Miami (14-5, 6-2) has been surprisingly good while Virginia Tech (10-9, 2-6) has been a bit of a disappointment.

The Hurricanes have won 10 of their past 12 games, and their only losses during that span were each by one point to rival Florida State. That includes a 61-60 loss on Saturday during which Miami rallied from a 26-point second-half deficit and had a chance to win with a mid-range jumper at the buzzer.

Hurricanes assistant coach DJ Irving said he is not worried that the disappointment of that loss will have a negative effect on Miami in its trip to Blacksburg.

"These guys are mature," Irving said of Miami's players. "Most of them are a year away from being pros. They're already acting like professionals."

Indeed, Miami's five starters have a combined 531 college games, including 375 starts.

Virginia Tech is also an older team as the five Hokies starters have played 501 college games. They have a combined 398 starts.

The Hokies return three starters from last season, and they are Virginia Tech's top three scorers: Keve Aluma (15.9 points per game), Justyn Mutts (10.5) and Nahiem Alleyne (10.4).

Wofford transfer Storm Murphy (8.2 points per game) was brought in as the point guard. And Hunter Cattoor, after starting just five games his first two years at Virginia Tech, is now the shooting guard, making a team-best 45.8 percent of his three-pointers while averaging 9.9 points.

Unfortunately for the Hokies, they have lost two straight games, and Wednesday's contest will be their third in just five days.

"This is hard on my team," Hokies coach Mike Young said. "I told our guys: 'With your willingness to respond and fight, we're going to come through this.' And when we do, it's going to be beautiful."

Virginia Tech won both games against Miami last year, with the Hokies prevailing by two points at home and then winning in overtime on the Canes' court.

Miami is led in scoring this season by its trio of guards: Kameron McGusty (17.8 points per game), Isaiah Wong (16.7) and Charlie Moore (12.5).

The Hokies like to pound the ball inside to 6-foot-9 Aluma and 6-foot-7 Mutts, who are converting on 56 percent or better on their two-point tries.

"(The Hokies) always try to go to their two big fellas," Irving said of Aluma and Mutts. "They take their time. They use the shot clock, and they get the ball inside."

As usual for Miami this season, it will be the Canes guards against their opponents' frontcourt. Miami has been outrebounded by all 10 of their Power Five foes this year, but the Canes have managed to win seven of those contests.

--Field Level Media