ACC Predictions: UM battles a pair of Northeast teams

Guard Kelsey Marshall drives to the hoop against Marquette's Amani Wilborn on Nov. 15, 2018, at the Watsco Center. Marshall finished with eight points and eight rebounds in the Hurricanes' 63-55 victory over the Golden Eagles. Photo credit: Josh White




7 p.m. Jan. 23 – Miami @ No. 13 Syracuse

The Syracuse Orange might be the Miami Hurricanes’ biggest test so far in the 2018-2019 campaign.

No. 13 Syracuse (15-3, 4-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) is just the second ranked team Miami (16-4, 4-1 ACC) will face this season.

Syracuse rebounds the basketball as well as anyone in the conference with five players grabbing at least five boards per game. However, the Orange have yet to face Hurricanes’ forward Beatrice Mompremier.

Mompremier secured her second ACC Player of the Week Honor Monday afternoon, becoming just the fourth Hurricane in program history to win the award multiple times.

The 6-foot-4 redshirt junior leads the ACC with 14 double-doubles and is second in rebounding only behind Virginia Tech’s Regan Magarity.

Miami should benefit from second and third chances to score on many possessions.

Defensively, Katie Meier’s squad needs to slow down Syracuse junior Tiana Mangakahia, who paces the Orange with 16.3 points per game and an ACC-leading 7.9 assists per game. The Australian averages the third most helpers in the country and leads a top-15 scoring attack that uses their strong depth to wear down opponents.

Syracuse have a true secondary playmaker, so Miami must look to cut off Mangakahia’s passing lanes and prevent her from involving her teammates in the offense.

The Hurricanes should also look to capitalize on turnovers, of which the Orange commit more than 17 per game. These teams are evenly matched, but home court should give the Orange the edge.

Prediction: Syracuse 72 – Miami 67

1 p.m. Jan. 27– Miami vs. Boston College

Boston College (13-6, 2-4 ACC) will be well-rested, as they have a full week to recover from their loss to top-ranked Notre Dame this past Sunday.

First-year coach Joanna Bernabei-McNamee desperately needs a win to avoid falling into the conference cellar.

The Eagles bring a balanced and efficient offense to Coral Gables, with four players averaging double figures. Junior forward Emma Guy leads the team in scoring and rebounding with 13.6 points per contest and 7.5 boards per game.

Miami can attack Boston College beyond the arc. The Eagles allow their opponents to shoot 35 percent from three-point range, one of the worst marks in the country.

Hurricanes’ guards Mykea Gray, Laura Cornelius, Kelsey Marshall and sharpshooter Sarah Mortenson will have to cash in on the open looks to lead Miami to a victory.

Additionally, the Eagles are an average shot-blocking team, so this is a game where Mompremier and senior center Emese Hof can feast down low for Miami. It wouldn’t be shocking to see both players pick up double-doubles in this game, and it should be enough to emerge with a victory.

Prediction: Miami 80 – Boston College 71