Georgia Tech v Miami

VIDEO: Georgia Tech beats Miami at the buzzer


That tip from Marcus Georges-Hunt did a lot more than just hand Miami their first home loss in ACC play — 71-69 to Georgia Tech, if you couldn’t tell — and drop them one game closer to sharing their ACC title with Duke.

It may have cost the Hurricanes a shot at a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.

Miami now has lost to Florida-Gulf Coast, Indiana State, Wake Forest and Georgia Tech. I don’t care how many players were injured for how many games. A No. 1 seed in a season where there are a dozen teams with a shot at getting a No. 1 seed cannot have four losses to teams that won’t be getting a sniff when it comes to at-large consideration.

It’s really that simple.

But the concerns about the Hurricanes appear to run a bit deeper now. Losses in three of their last four games is an issue. The fact that one of those losses was by 15 points at Wake Forest and another one came at home — on the same floor where, in the span of two weeks, they beat Duke and North Carolina by a combined 53 points — to Georgia Tech.

Even before the losses started piling up, Miami was starting to look a bit ragged. They struggled at Florida State and they needed a last-minute three from Kenny Kadji to win at Clemson. After Shane Larkin bailed the Hurricanes out at home, taking advantage of a defensive breakdown by Virginia, Miami lost at Wake and then struggled to put away Virginia Tech on their home court.

Ironically enough, the best game that the Hurricanes have played since drubbing North Carolina? Their loss to Duke at Cameron.

A lot of people are going to point fingers at Reggie Johnson, and it’s true, he’s been a complete non-factor of late — the past two games, he has two points on 1-9 shooting and just six rebounds in 32 minutes. But only twice since returning from his broken thumb has Johnson broken double-figures. His disappearance is being overstated.

The bigger issue is on the defensive end of the floor. Miami isn’t getting stops.

“This loss definitely hurts,” Julian Gamble said. “Hopefully it hurts us enough for us to realize we need to get back to defending.”

In February, the Hurricanes were No. 3 in Kenpom’s defensive efficiency rating. They’ve fallen to tenth, and that’s before the 71 points they allowed the Yellow Jackets on roughly 64 possessions gets factored in. Duke lit them up for 1.14 PPP. Wake Forest scored 1.16 PPP on them.

As good as Shane Larkin has been this season, Miami’s bread-and-butter has been their ability to defend. They’re bigger and older and stronger than anyone they are going to face this year, and they have a point guard that they can rely on to create in half court, final possession situations.

They need to get back to getting stops consistently.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Stanford loses key veteran guard to stress fracture

Marcus Allen
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Stanford guard Marcus Allen will be out indefinitely after suffering a stress fracture in his right foot, the school announced on Monday evening.

“We want to make sure Marcus is fully healthy before returning to the court,” Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said in a statement. “Marcus played at a high level during our summer exhibition competition in Italy, where he was one of our leading scorers. We will certainly miss him as we continue to prepare for the season, but we are fortunate that this happened now and he will be back before he knows it.”

The loss of Allen is a potentially brutal blow in an already-thin back court. The 6-foot-3 Allen started 23 games as a sophomore last season, averaging 6.4 points and 3.5 boards. But he averaged 11.4 points and 5.4 boards as the Cardinal made a run to the NIT championship and looked poised to be able to replace the departed Chasson Randle’s production this year.

What’s worse is that without Allen, Stanford does not return a single player in their back court that averaged more than 11.5 minutes. Sophomore Robert Cartwright looks poised to step into the starting point guard role, but neither Dorian Pickens nor Christian Sanders looked like they were ready for that kind of role in the Pac-12 last season. Dawkins does return Malcolm Allen, Marcus’ twin brother, who sat out last season with a broken wrist.

The good news is that Stanford’s front court is strong enough to carry the Cardinal until Marcus is healthy. Rosco Allen, Reid Travis and Michael Humphrey will be able to hold their own against any front line in the Pac-12, while Grant Verhoeven and freshman Josh Sharma will provide adequate depth.

Utah lands top-75 center Jayce Johnson

Larry Krystkowiak
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Utah picked up its center of the future on Monday as four-star center Jayce Johnson pledged to the Runnin’ Utes, a source confirmed to The 7-foot Johnson recently cut his list to Cal, Colorado and Utah with the possibility of reclassifying to the Class of 2015.

Regarded as the No. 67 overall prospect in the Class of 2016, Johnson will look to attend Utah in December as a walk-on who will redshirt. While Johnson likely won’t play this season, he does give head coach Larry Krystkowiak another big man to use in practice to go against sophomore center Jakob Poeltl. A solid long-term prospect, Johnson has a good frame to add weight and he’s also skilled finishing with both hands. Utah now has its replacement for Poeltl if he opts to leave for the NBA after the season and he gets an extra semester to work with the program.

Johnson is coming off of his official visit to Utah this weekend as he joins junior college guard Jojo Zamora in the Class of 2016.