Head coach Jim Larranaga is back in the NCAA Tournament; however, this time he is not the coach of a cinderella team. The former George Mason coach is at the helm for the No. 2 Miami (FL) Hurricanes, who were victorious against the No. 15 Pacific Tigers, 78-49.
Miami’s Durand Scott led all scorers with 21 points and three rebounds. His teammate, Shane Larkin, added 10 points, nine assists, three rebounds and three steals. Although Julian Gamble and Kenny Kadji were relatively quiet during this game, Reggie Johnson produced seven points and 10 rebounds off the bench.
Yesterday, Miami looked like the best team in the entire tournament despite playing a relatively unknown school like Pacific. The most interesting thing is that some of Miami’s best players (Kadji and Larkin) did not perform that well. Larkin and Scott make up arguably the best backcourt in the nation. Although Miami’s frontcourt is underrated, they are among the best in the nation as well.
This is not a good sign for other teams — Miami could possibly win their first national championship in 2013.
Miami’s next opponent will be the No. 7 Illinois Fighting Illini, who beat the Colorado Buffaloes, 57-49. Illinois is led by its guard trio, consisting of Brandon Paul, D.J. Richardson and Tracy Abrams. When Illinois faces Miami, the key match-up will be between each team’s backcourt.
Expect Miami and Illinois to score a great deal of points. Although Miami has the potential to win the national championship, any team can get hot for six games this time of the year. However, the Hurricanes cannot overlook a team like Illinois because every team has their eyes set on their one shining moment.