NCAA

Canes Road To Final Four Tough, But Not

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North Carolina State v Miami - ACC Semifinals

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Hurricanes became the first team to win the ACC championship outright and not become a number one seed in the NCAA Tournament. But it’s the Canes who may end up having the last laugh.

The Canes were slotted as a number two seed in the East Region by the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee and will open up tournament play against the Pacific Tigers, a number 15 seed in the 2013 tournament.

Pacific is in the tournament for the first time since 2006 after winning the Big West tournament. The Tigers had an RPI of 99 and finished the season with a 20-12 overall record and 16-5 in Big West Conference play. Pacific had the 137th ranked strength of schedule in 2013.

Assuming Miami can get past Pacific in the opening round, the Canes will face the winner of an Illinois vs. Colorado opening round matchup. Illinois has struggled at times, including a neutral court loss to Missouri earlier this year.

Illinois and Colorado are ranked 40th and 38th respectively in RPI, but Illinois played a much tougher schedule (8th in the country). Illinois also dominates ever major statistical category over Colorado except for rebounds.

Miami should match up well against either team and a second victory would move the Canes to the Sweet 16. But that’s when things will get much tougher.

The Canes could face any combination of Butler, Bucknell, Marquette, and Davidson in the Sweet 16. Moving past that, some major teams stand in front of Miami reaching the Final Four including UNLV, N.C. State, Syracuse, and the Indiana Hoosiers.

Indiana has spent much of the season as the number one team in the country and is favored to move through the East Region to the Final Four.

CBS4 is the home of the NCAA Tournament starting Thursday and running through the Final Four in early April. CBSMiami.com is also home to the Bracket Challenge where you can match your picks against CBS4 personalities like Jim Berry, Kim Bokamper, Rhiannon Ally, and Vanessa Borge.

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