Miami got some devastating news on Sunday afternoon as news leaked out that big man Reggie Johnson will miss the next six weeks with a broken left thumb.
Johnson injured the thumb in practice the day before Miami took part in the Diamond Head Classic out in Hawaii. The Hurricanes were 1-2 out on the islands, losing to Arizona and Indiana State in overtime. This isn’t the first time that Johnson has had to miss an extended period of time, either. The big fella injured his knee in July of 2011 and missed the first half of last season.
There’s no question that this will be really bad news for Miami, as Johnson was averaging 12.6 points and 10.1 boards this season. But it will make for an incredibly interesting case for the NCAA come March. Miami was without Durand Scott for the first three games of the season, when they lost to Florida-Gulf Coast. They were without Johnson for their two most recent losses as well.
But with both Scott and Johnson in the lineup, the Hurricanes were 5-0. Let’s assume that the six weeks Johnson will be out dates to today and not the day he was injured. That means that Johnson will both of Miami’s games against North Carolina, their only matchup with North Carolina State and one of their two dates with Duke.
If Johnson is back on for the February 13th trip to Florida State, that means that unless the Seminoles make the NCAA tournament, a trip to Duke will be one of two tournament teams that Miami has played at full strength. What happens if they end up going undefeated with everyone in the lineup? How does the committee value this team?
You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.
National Semifinals– Saturday, April 1
6:09 p.m. EST, CBS, Glendale
No. 7 South Carolina vs. No. 1 Gonzaga (Jim Nantz, Grant Hill, Bill Raftery, Tracy Wolfson)
Approximately 40 minutes after conclusion of first game, CBS, Glendale
No. 1 North Carolina vs. No. 3 Oregon (Jim Nantz, Grant Hill, Bill Raftery, Tracy Wolfson)
North Carolina and Kentucky ended in legendary fashion on Sunday.
After freshman Malik Monk buried a heavily-contested three-pointer to tie the game at 73-all for Kentucky with under 10 seconds left the Tar Heels didn’t use a timeout as Theo Pinson found forward Luke Maye for the game-winning jumper.
These 10 seconds will go down as one of the greatest finishes in NCAA Tournament history.
North Carolina advanced to the Final Four for the second consecutive season and 20th time overall as the No. 1 seed Tar Heels outlasted No. 2 seed Kentucky, 75-73, during Sunday’s South Regional final in Memphis.
Reserve forward Luke Maye knocked in the game-winning jumper for the Tar Heels with 0.3 seconds left to break a 73-all tie after Kentucky’s Malik Monk tied the game with a three-pointer on the previous possession.
The Tar Heels (31-7) overcame an ankle issue from junior point guard Joel Berry as North Carolina was led by Justin Jackson’s 19 points.
Maye also stepped up with a big game for North Carolina as he continued his strong March with 17 points. Berry added 11 points, as he went to the locker room during the first half to get his ankle looked at before returning to play later in the half.
Kentucky (32-6) won the regular-season matchup of these teams, 103-100, in Las Vegas in December as their freshmen guards struggled to perform on Sunday. After De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk combined for 71 points in that previous win over the Tar Heels, the two freshmen studs couldn’t get going.
Both of them dealt with first-half foul trouble as Fox finished with 13 points while Monk was held to 12 points. Also battling foul trouble in the first half, freshman Bam Adebayo added 13 points for the Wildcats.
With Fox and Monk struggling to generate consistent offense, the Wildcats were able to stay in the game thanks to great performances from reserves like Isaac Humphries (career-high 12 points) and senior Dominique Hawkins (10 points.
North Carolina advances to face No. 3 seed Oregon in next weekend’s Final Four.
South Carolina earned its first trip to the Final Four with its win over SEC-rival Florida on Sunday.
The Gamecocks made sure to celebrate properly when head coach Frank Martin hit the locker room after the game by dousing him in water before Martin gave another speech.
Darius Rucker, the former front man of Hootie and the Blowfish and a current star in the country music world, is a lifelong South Carolina Gamecocks fan.
This isn’t really a secret.
Hell, on Friday night at a concert he was playing, Rucker set up TVs so that he would be able to watch South Carolina take on Baylor:
You probably didn’t realize just how big of a fan he actually is until you saw him, sitting second row at the regional final in New York City on Sunday afternoon, tearing up as the Gamecocks advanced to the Final Four:
Let ’em cry, Darius, if the tears fall down like rain.