Most bracketologists had been expecting the Miami Hurricane's men's basketball team to sneak into the NCAA tournament as a lower seed, perhaps even tasked with the fate of having to win a play-in game. Still, it would have been the 'Canes first appearance in the NCAA tourney since 2008, and a nice achievement for first year coach Jim Larranaga.
The bubble may have burst last night, though, after the 'Canes lost to Maryland. Can the 'Canes still fight their way into the tourney?
The 'Canes pulled off a historic victory earlier this month by beating Duke on the road, but in their five games since the team has gone a disappointing 2-3. Sure, two of those loses came to FSU and North Carolina, both ranked teams, but last night's 75-70 defeat at the hands of Maryland may move them to the other side of the tourney bubble.
The 'Canes still have a chance to make a serious statement on Sunday when they host the 16th ranked Seminoles. In their meeting earlier this month the 'Canes lost in a 64-59 heartbreaker, but the team may very well need a victory this time around to keep their post-season hopes alive.
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After that it's a match next Wednesday against the ACC's other bubble team, NC State. The Wolfpack beat the 'Canes at home earlier this season, and the 'Canes will need to return the favor. The regular season ends next week with a home game against Boston College. The Eagles are 3-10 this season, and shouldn't present much of a challenge.
Basically the team needs to go at least 2-1 in its final three games to keep any hope alive. Then its off to the ACC tourney where a strong run may net them an NCAA berth. Remember, Coach Larranaga has two previous trips to the Final Four under his belt with George Mason University, but if the man is going to continue to work his tourney magic he needs to make sure his team gets there first.
Either way, fear not 'Canes nation, you'll still have some March Madness to partake in. The fifth-ranked women's team will likely be a second seed or higher in the ladies' tourney.