Villanova will play in the NCAA Sweet 16 round for the first time since 2009 on Thursday night, and their opponent will be one that they haven't faced since the 2003-04 season. Prior to that date, the Hurricanes were a regular appearance on the Wildcats' schedule for over a decade while they were a member of the Big East Conference for all sports.
A win for Miami would send that program to the Elite Eight for the first time in school history. It would be the twelfth for Villanova.
Here are a few things to watch for tomorrow:
Sheldon McClellan headlines a talented group of four guards
The University of Texas transfer has been one of the ACC's best players since arriving at the U. He's averaging 16 points per game, 1.6 assists, 3.2 rebounds, 1.1 steals, while shooting just under 50% from the floor and 38.9% from deep. The senior shooting guard has been hitting career highs all season, and has been an immensely-productive player this season.
He's surrounded by plenty of talented guards, Angel Rodriguez, Davon Reed and Ja'Quan Newton. Rodriguez is Miami's point guard, leading the team with 4.4 assists per game to go with his 12.6 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 1.6 steals. Reed and Newton contribute 11.2 and 10.8 points per game each, respectively.
Miami is average on the glass
The Canes average about 35 rebounds per game, a respectable number, but not elite. Guard-oriented like Villanova, the U is often at a disadvantage on the glass against ACC teams. That fact bodes well for the Wildcats' chances -- Villanova has had their own rebounding struggles this season. This is a match-up where Villanova's line-up will not be facing a team with a huge advantage against them on the glass.
Look out for these guys in the lane
Iowa was a pretty efficient shooting team from outside, making over 37% from deep. Miami connects on about 36.9% from beyond the arc, but unlike Iowa, who shoots just 48.7% from inside, the 'Canes are successful on 53.3% from close range.
The U's top four guards are all connecting on at least 33% from deep, but they really love to drive the lane and do their damage under the hoop. Newton, for example, took just 26 of his 224 shot attempts from outside, and has been efficient from mid-range as well -- he's a classic Philly guard.
In total, the team takes about 34% of their shots from outside the perimeter.