Sunday, February 17, 2013

Miami Hurricanes: Overrated or Title Contender?

The University of Miami narrowly escaped with a 45-43 win over Clemson on Sunday, and with Duke's loss to Maryland on Saturday, the third ranked Hurricanes should move up a spot in the national polls.

SnapCall Poll
Scuffling as they did, Miami's lackluster performance against Clemson begs the question: is Miami overrated?

Let's attempt to answer that question by breaking down their performance against Clemson. In the first half, the 'Canes shot just 7-of-27 from the field, including an abysmal 1-of-10 from 3-point range. They scored a season-low 18 points, yet held a two point lead because the Tigers hit just one of their first 17 attempts from the floor.

Miami finished the game shooting a paltry 3-of-19 (16%) from 3-point range. Suffice it to say, the Hurricanes were fortunate to leave Littlejohn Coliseum with a win.

That said, one game does not make or break a team. So what about the statistics? Well, they don't make Miami's case as a title contender, either.

Entering Sunday, the 'Canes ranked 120th in rebounds per game and 240th in assists. The numbers often don't lie as Clemson had 9 assists to Miami's 8. Even more troubling is the fact that Miami doesn't lead the ACC in any major statistical category. In fact, they don't even rank in the top 5 in the conference in scoring, defense or rebounding.

When it comes to winning championships, star power is a major factor. A quick glance at Miami's roster and we know that they don't posses a Wooden Award candidate such as Duke's Mason Plumlee or Indiana's Cody Zeller. Sophomore guard Shane Larkin is a rising star for sure, but he is not yet among the nation's elite. Seniors Kenny Kadji and Durand Scott are reliable scorers, but neither player is what you would call a go-to guy.

While all of these facts seem to suggest Miami doesn't deserve their ranking, let's look at the alternatives. Michigan suffered back-to-back conference losses last week. Duke just dropped their third ACC game and Syracuse has lost three of their last six games. No. 5 Gonzaga is 12-0 in the West Coast Conference, but they lack quality wins.

Given the resume blotches of teams close to Miami in the national polls, it's hard to argue that the 'Canes are overrated. Although Sunday's win was an ugly one, at the end of the day, Miami is a perfect 12-0 in the ACC. It's just that kind of year in the college basketball.

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