Monday, February 18, 2013

HURRICANE COMING! How did the 'Canes move up to #2 in the Country?


Johnny J

The Miami Hurricanes have done the unthinkable this season. They have beaten the Duke Blue Devils and the North Carolina Tar Heels by more than 25 points at home. They are currently ranked number two in the nation, with a record of 21-3 and a perfect 12-0 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, after slipping past Clemson yesterday 45-43 (Looks more like a football score than a basketball score--Ed). They were never ranked higher than eighth, until this season. Not bad for a team that started the season unranked.

Hurricane fans Rob and fiance Erin

Clemson has always been a tough place to play and yesterday the Tigers proved it. The Tigers held the Hurricanes to just 18 points at halftime and a combined seven free throw attempts for the game. 45 points is the Hurricanes lowest points outing of the season. The Hurricanes star senior, Kenny Kadji, hit the go-ahead three pointer over Clemson.

"We're going to fight until the clock is finished," Kadji said. "That's something coach always tells us. You want to play hard and try to win."

At 6'11" Kadji is more of a wing player than a post-up player. With his ability to shoot, Kadji stretches the floor, which opens the hole for driving teammates. He is third on the team in scoring and second in rebounding. He is projected to go in the second round of the NBA Draft.

The Hurricanes are dominating with seasoned veterans.  They have a total of nine juniors and seniors on their team. They have four players who average points in double figures and the highest is only 14.0 PPG, by senior guard Durand Scott. That tells me this is a team to be reckoned with because of their depth.  You take the ball out of one person's hand and somebody else steps up. With this team not scoring a lot of points, you wouldn't think this team would have won 13 games in a row. They haven't lost since Christmas (Those pesky Indiana State Sycamores--Ed)!

“I don’t think it’s anything we do,” guard Shane Larkin said. “I just think we stay poised and play our game."

 Here's why they win games. They're shooting at 46% from the field as a team. That shows they take good shots consistently. Here's how ESPN has them ranked across the board with the rest of the country:

Points/Game    Rebs/Game     Assts/Game     Field Goal%  
128th at 69.5   106th at 36.4   258th at 11.6    54th at .460     

Hurricane fan giving their team a thumbs up

Sharing the ball is not really their forte, its more of shooting at a high percentage each time. They ranked near the top 50 in one category, but it may be the most important in my eyes. Everyone on the team is a shooter and if they're not, they make a great number of shots around the basket. If their shooting becomes better each game, they will be a handful come tournament time.  Throw in a team with veteran moxie and this team becomes a real threat in the post-season.
I wouldn't be surprised at all if they were a #1 seed. This wouldn't be a Cinderella team come March Madness time because everyone knows about them now, but they have been all season, especially in the ACC. Even though I'm a big North Carolina fan, it doesn't look like they can compete. So why not root for the team that just came out of nowhere? The Hurricanes have never won a NCAA Tournament game, let alone making an appearance in the Final Four. So hey, if North Carolina falls, let's make history 'Canes nation!

All photos courtesy of Rob Collins.

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