North Carolina figured a few things out after a stunning defeat. Miami has had time to digest its latest rotation with a week off between games.
The teams meet Saturday afternoon at the Watsco Center in Coral Gables, Fla.
Miami has had to display toughness with a limited roster, having no choice except to show some grit during the early portion of the Atlantic Coast Conference schedule.
North Carolina coach Roy Williams has questioned his team's ability to win ugly games. Then the Tar Heels did just that in Tuesday night's 75-69 victory against visiting Notre Dame.
"I like their toughness making plays down the stretch," Williams said of his team.
The No. 13 Tar Heels aren't boasting of great things after that outing, but it did shake away some of the misery from last weekend's lopsided home loss to Louisville.
Freshmen Nassir Little and Coby White made clutch shots for North Carolina in the Notre Dame game. Other things went the Tar Heels' way when it counted.
"Even though we didn't play well, I feel like we battled and fought and were able to pull out a win," senior forward Luke Maye said.
North Carolina (13-4, 3-1 ACC) hasn't lost consecutive games this season, so the ability to bounce back has been a positive.
"Coach always says great teams respond after losing so that's what we had to do," junior guard Brandon Robinson said. "I think we did a great job of doing that even if it was an ugly win."
Miami (9-7, 1-3) hasn't played since snapping a three-game losing streak by defeating Wake Forest last weekend. The Hurricanes have been down to a seven-player rotation, so they're learning to adapt to that approach.
"We tried to do everything we could in both halves to keep our players out of foul trouble," coach Jim Larranaga said of an emphasis for the team.
A zone defense has been one of the methods the Hurricanes have used to alter the pace of games and disrupt flow.
That might be one of the keys against North Carolina, which relishes a fast pace and has a much deeper roster than the Hurricanes.
Miami guard Chris Lykes said the team has worn down in the second halves of some games, but he said the Hurricanes still show good energy and that's something they rely on.
"I don't think anyone likes losing," Lykes said. "Now it is time to build on this."
This starts a stretch for the Hurricanes with four of five games against teams currently in the Top 25.
North Carolina just played a short-handed Notre Dame team, so there could be similar elements for this game. But Williams realized it took a strong span in the second half to pull out that game.
"The best thing to me was the fact we had only two turnovers in the second half," Williams said.
North Carolina is 2-0 in ACC road games. This marks the team's third consecutive game against an unranked opponent, but then there's a quick turnaround for Monday night's home game against Virginia Tech, which has been in the rankings all season.
--Field Level Media
No. 13 North Carolina runs into rested Miami (Fla).