Eye of the Hurricane

February 16, 2009

Canes should not get too down for being on the wrong end vs. UNC

Filed under: Uncategorized — tranquilo1212 @ 12:49 am

Yes, of course you need to protect home court, and making it close against the #3 team makes it hurt more, but let’s not forget the big picture here. Without its second-leading scorer and most consistently dominant post threat, Miami not only came within 1 point of the superior Tar Heels late in the second half, they also held the Heels to one of their worst offensive games of the last several seasons. Even with some horrendous calls benefitting him, Tyler Hansborough was held to 8 points. Danny Green was also held in check due to foul trouble. After hanging 100 on rival and defensive power Duke in Cameron Indoor, the Tar Heels couldn’t even get to the 70 point mark. The team looked focused and ready to play, and Miami still nearly beat them shorthanded. It really took a clutch three-pointer by Lawson off of a perfectly set ball screen to clinch the game for Carolina. Lawson stepped up big late, and Ellington was on fire as well, and these contributions were crucial in winning a game in which the Heels were not outplayed at all. This shows why the ACC is so tough. Jack McClinton shone brightest on this night, with his 35 in front of 15 scouts perhaps raising his draft stock. More importantly, he outplayed Hansborough and made Lawson and Ellington come to the rescue bigtime for Carolina just to hold on.

The Canes are not out of it, unless they let themselves fall off. The team was a few bounces here and there of potentially upsetting three top 10 teams in a row, and no one dominated Wake Forest this season the way Miami did, regardless of their conference record (remember, it’s a tough conference). If the Canes can bring the same intensity and help out number 33 sufficiently, they should be able to take 4 of the remaining 5 games, perhaps one or two in Atlanta in the ACC Tournament, and make it into the dance with flying colors. However, it’s crucial for the Canes to take the next two against teams they’ve already beaten this year ahead of them in the standings and with highter RPIs (Florida State and Boston College). As tough as these close losses are right now, running the table would give Miami 9 ACC wins, one more than last year’s magical total..with 2 more than last year coming on the road. But the team can’t play down to its competition.

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