With the NCAA championship tournament set to tip off in just eight days – March 14 – the Miami Hurricanes didn’t do themselves any favors with the way they closed the regular season.
While UM has moved from a team “on the bubble” to a veritable lock to earn a spot in the field of 68 in “the big dance” – losing its final two regular-season games hurt.
The Canes, which unveiled new Adidas uniforms that they will wear during the postseason Monday, climbed into in the No. 25 spot in both major national polls but fell to ACC foes Virginia Tech and Florida State this past week.
Losing to the Hokies probably stung the most – given Miami had just beaten Virginia Tech three weeks ago. The Hurricanes could not overcome Ty Outlaw’s career-high performance – 24 points, all coming from three-point range – in the loss.
Miami ended its regular season with a nine-point loss to rival Florida State. It was the second time this season that the Seminoles – ranked No. 15 in the latest polls – got the best of Canes.
Now Miami will enter the ACC championship tournament – which will take place March 7-11 at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center – as the seventh-ranked team in the conference.
Miami is set to play Syracuse, which defeated UM in January, Wednesday – set for a noon tip and can be heard on Miami Sports Radio 560 WQAM.
Because the Canes’ ticket to the dance isn’t in question, the only thing that should be on their minds during the ACC tourney is seeding. Putting on a strong performance in the conference tournament could put Miami in a better position on the bracket – like avoiding a potential second round matchup with a No. 1 seed.
Of course, if the Hurricanes were to get hot, win the ACC tournament, and claim the conference’s automatic bid into “The Big Dance” – they could throw a monkey wrench in someone else’s tournament chances.
Here’s how the Canes currently stack up:
Conference record: 10-8
Best win(s): DUKE (55-50; Feb. 25), UVA (54-28; Feb. 20), PITT (74-68; Feb. 8), UNC (77-62; Jan. 28)
Worst loss(es): SYR (70-55; Jan. 4)
RPI (Rating Percentage Index) Ranking: 37th (Down from 35th)
Strength Of Schedule: 37th (Up from 46th)