I had my eulogy for this team planned out in my head at the tip of yesterday’s game. The roster, fully-assembled, was actually pretty good, but losing a key piece to the puzzle in Reggie Johnson was just too much to overcome, guard play was no good, blah blah blah.
This Hurricanes team, though, has shown a propensity this year to zig when you think they’re going to zag, and yesterday was no different. Despite the loss of Johnson a few hours before tip (although it was speculated that he would miss the game anyway with a knee injury), the Hurricanes went out and won the last 30 minutes or so of the game handily and handed Florida State one of their worst losses of the season in a game many expected Miami to lose.
The Canes did it with an efficiency they haven’t shown all year, turning the ball over only 11 times and shooting almost 49% from the field and 45% from 3.
They also did it with tremendous defense, forcing 18 Seminole turnovers, and holding them to 41% shooting from the field and 5-23 (22%) from deep. Shane Larkin had 0 turnovers and made 8-9 Free Throws on his way to 13 points, and Kenny Kadji continued his stellar second-half with 15 points on only 6 shots and 5 of Miami’s 7 blocks on the night. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Durand Scott, finally a steadying force with 17 points on 11 shots and the team lead with 7 rebounds.
Before I get into what this all means, I’d like to applaud Leonard Hamilton for his epic troll job of the fans at the Bank United Center and people watching at home, as he ordered his team to foul on every possession starting at about 4:16 to go. Florida State fouled Miami FIFTEEN times in the last 4:16 of this game, producing TWENTY-FOUR FREE THROW ATTEMPTS in that time span. Miami had 10 FTA going in to the last 4 minutes.
The funniest thing is that it almost worked. I turned the game off once Miami went up 14 with 3:32 left, and of course Florida State promptly closed the gap to 7 about a minute later, due to some timely shooting and Miami missing the front-end of a couple of 1-and-1s. Miami steadied the ship, though, and left with a win.
So where does this win leave the ‘Canes? They are tied for fourth in the ACC now, with a record of 8-6 in conference and 17-10 overall. It is imperative that they win out, and they should beat Boston College in the season finale in Miami on March 3rd. The real test of their Tournament hopes will come on Leap Year Day, February 29th, at North Carolina State. Win that one and I think they’re in. Lose and they will need to win some games in the ACC Tournament, and hope that nothing crazy happens prior to Selection Sunday.
I think they will be one of the
64 65 66 67 68 teams selected by the committee, but I have seemingly been wrong about this team all year.