UM Basketball Bandwagon Filling Up Fast
CORAL GABLES (CBSMiami) – The bandwagon in Coral Gables pulled out last night and is quickly running out of room as the University of Miami Hurricanes men’s basketball team continues to put up win after win in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
The 25th ranked Hurricanes are 14-3 overall and 5-0 in ACC play in 2013. The Canes are also coming off arguably one of the biggest wins in the program’s history.
The Canes dominated the number one ranked Duke Blue Devils Wednesday night in every facet of the game in a 90-63 win. Miami did it before a raucous home crowd in the Bank United Center that had Canes legends like Warren Sapp cheering the team on, and helping them troll the Blue Devils.
“I heard someone scream my name when I was shooting a free throw,” said Miami guard Shane Larkin. “I looked, and it was Warren Sapp. He was like ‘slap the floor on D.’”
Duke is well-known for having former players like Steve Wojciechowski who would slap the floor when playing defense to help fire up the Cameron Indoor Arena crowd. After hearing from Sapp, the entire Canes lineup on the court decided to slap the floor.
Miami was fired up on the court and the fans were just as loud. It was a scene like the Canes had never seen before and only the 10th sellout in the 10-year history of the Bank United Center. But, Miami is expecting another sellout crowd on Saturday for a game against Florida State.
“That’s our goal — to get people excited about our program,” coach Jim Larranaga said. “It’s the first time in the university’s basketball history that we’ve been able to create that kind of buzz. This school is not necessarily known as a basketball school.”
The Hurricanes entered the game Wednesday night ranked number four in the country in RPI, which is used by the NCAA to determine the overall ranking of a team. Part of what pushed the Canes ranking so high was their strength of schedule, which is one of the best in the country.
Miami is also riding a six game winning streak and has knocked off both the number one team in the country and #13 Michigan State, both games in Coral Gables. But bringing a team out of nowhere to the top of the college basketball world is not new for Canes head coach Jim Larranaga.
The Canes’ head coach led tiny George Mason to a storied run through the NCAA Tournament in 2006 all the way to the Final Four. Larranaga has a large, senior laden team with speed and accuracy from the outside at UM this year.
Durand Scott, Shane Larkin and Trey McKinney Jones all hold down the outside while Reggie Johnson, Julian Gamble, and Kenny Kadji (all over 6’10” tall) keep opponents from getting to the rim.
The Canes are in prime position to shake things up in both the ACC and the NCAA Tournament. Including the Canes, only three teams are ranked in the Top 25, but Miami still has to play Duke on the road and North Carolina State.
But for now, the bandwagon is growing with each victory and with it, the reputation of the U in a sport that’s long been overlooked at the school.
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