After the 87-61 thrashing of the North Carolina Tar Heels, it is safe to say that the Miami Hurricanes are for real. Actually, I realized this several games ago, in particular after the thrashing that the Hurricanes gave the Duke Blue Devils. The Hurricanes are peaking at the right time. Currently, Miami is ranked eighth in the nation. Miami’s overall record is 17-3. In addition, they are undefeated in conference play with a 10-0 record. I foresee Miami being a No. 1 or No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
However, their seeding will be influenced by how well they do during the regular season and their level of success in the ACC tournament.
Veteran leadership coupled with extraordinary skill sets and team chemistry represent the perfect winning combination for Miami. Their versatility, in particular, their ability to go inside and out, fuels their potent offense and relentless defense. Miami’s roster has several NBA prospects in Shane Larkin, Durand Scott, Julian Gamble, Reggie Johnson and Kenny Kadji. Gamble, Johnson, Kadji and Scott are senior student-athletes who have played together for several years.
Prior to the beginning of this season, there were high expectations for the North Carolina State Wolfpack. At the beginning of the season, N.C. State was ranked sixth in the nation. No one had high expectations for Miami, however. In contrast to N.C. State, Miami was not ranked at the beginning of the season. They have had to play with a chip on their shoulder in order to earn the respect of many.
With the NCAA tournament being a little over a month away, Miami actually has a shot at winning the national championship. The three losses that Miami has suffered speak volumes about them. Florida Gulf Coast beat them in their second game of the season, 63-51. The fourth ranked team in the nation, the Arizona Wildcats, beat Miami, 69-50. In the following game, the Indiana State Sycamores beat them, 57-55 in overtime. Since this game, Miami has won 11 consecutive games. Some of these games have come against the likes of Duke, North Carolina (twice) and North Carolina State.
Miami has a chance to finish the season with an undefeated conference record. Can it happen? Possibly. One thing I do know. You have to put Miami’s name in the conversation when discussing the best team in the ACC and possibly the best team in the nation.