MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Hurricanes hit a rare mark for its basketball program Monday when the Associated Press ranked Miami third in the country, just behind the Indiana Hoosiers and Duke Blue Devils.
Not only that, but for the first time since 1960, the Canes received first-place votes in the AP Top 25. The Hurricanes received a total of 17 first-place votes.
A total of 16 points and three first-place votes pushed Duke ahead of Miami in the polls.
Looking at what the Canes have done in recent weeks, it’s easy to see why Miami is quickly ascending the men’s basketball rankings.
The team is regularly selling out the Bank United Center in recent games after a complete demolition of Duke a few weeks ago and a blowout of the University of North Carolina over the weekend.
Since the calendar turned to 2013, the Canes have yet to post a loss. While the Canes have had several close calls, like a 79-78 victory over NC State on the road or a 60-59 win over Boston College on the road, the Canes just keep winning.
The team is putting forth a balanced attack between the outstanding play of guards Shane Larkin and Durand Scott and the dominating play of big men Kenny Kadji, Julian Gamble and Reggie Johnson.
UM’s formula has been to play tough defense, rebound hard, and get out into transition with the speed of Larkin and the athleticism of Kadji leading the way.
UM is currently ranked second in the country in RPI, which is the rating the NCAA uses to select and seed the NCAA Tournament. Miami, ironically, is behind Duke in RPI which factors in three areas: winning percentage, opponents Division I winning percentage, and opponents’ opponents’ Division I winning percentage.
Miami ranks third in the ACC in scoring at 71.6 points per game and is winning by an average scoring margin of 13.9 points in conference games. Miami also leads the conference in field goal percentage at 46.3 percent and is fourth in three-point percentage.
Miami is also dominating on the boards, averaging 38.2 rebounds per game, including roughly 9.8 offensive rebounds. Finally, defensively Miami is averaging 5.6 blocks and 6.6 steals per game which are both the best in the ACC.