Even if you were temporarily blinded by Miami’s choice of footwear, you couldn’t help but see that this team is ready to go out and get the brass ring.
Durand Scott went off for a very efficient 21 points in an easygoing 78-49 dismantling of the Pacific Tigers, hitting 60 percent of his shots from the floor and all of his free throws. Shane Larkin – son of Baseball Hall of Famer Barry – was no slouch either, going for ten points, nine assists and three steals from the point guard position.
If nobody else on the team managed to get into double figures, it was only because head coach Jim Larranaga turned to the bench early, allowing his reserves ample opportunity to soak in the glory of the NCAA tournament. Team-wide experience has been an oft-discussed concern for the ACC double-champs, who last went to the Big Dance in 2008 under Frank Haith.
Larranaga will always be known as the man who shocked the world by taking the George Mason Patriots to the NCAA Final Four in 2006. He appears to be attempting to show us all that he’s just a damn good coach, and not some kind of Cinderella oddity. All season long, he’s shown a real knack for corralling a bunch of talented athletes into an honest-to-goodness team, something we’ve seen other power-conference schools struggle with.
The Hurricanes advance to face the winner of the Illinois-Colorado matchup that will play out later today. From what we’ve seen of Miami today, they look like a near-lock to power through to the Elite Eight. One early win may provide the confidence this youthful team needs to make it happen.
However, if the shoes had anything to do with it, the ‘Canes had better look out. Illinois is rocking the orange highlighter look today, as well.
Eric Angevine is the editor of Storming the Floor. He tweets @stfhoops.
Nebraska forward Shavon Shields was stretchered off of the floor after a scary fall as the Huskers were taking on Rutgers.
Nebraska was up by 17 in the second half when Shields bit on a pump fake and tried to block a Rutgers player’s shot. But his momentum carried him over the player’s shoulder, and he landed on what appeared to be up upper back, neck and right shoulder.
Here is the video. Be warned: it’s a nasty fall:
According to the broadcast, Shields lost consciousness on the floor and was taken to a local hospital.
One of the biggest storylines of Saturday’s college basketball schedule had everything to do with a team that no longer matters in the championship picture.
Less than 24 hours after being informed that the school would be imposing a postseason ban that will leave the Cardinals out of the ACC and NCAA tournaments, No. 19 Louisville tipped off against Boston College, and they did so without leading scorer Damion Lee, who is battling a knee issue.
How would the team respond to the decision — the despicable, shameful decision — that the university’s president made?
Well, it seems.
The Cardinals jumped out to a 19-2 lead in the first eight minutes and cruised to a 79-47 win over an overmatched Boston College team in the Yum! Center.
And head coach Rick Pitino, after the quote, said exactly what everyone is thinking.
“We should be penalized, no question about it,” he said. “But not this team. But the NCAA didn’t make that decision. We made that decision.”
He’s totally right. The school sacrificed the season — and the only shot that a pair of fifth-year seniors would get to play in the NCAA tournament — to protect the school, the brand and the bottom-line moving forward. Like I said earlier, it’s despicable.
But credit the Cardinals for responding.
Because they still have something on the line. They’re just a game out of first place in the ACC, and while an ACC regular season title isn’t a shot to play in the ACC or NCAA tournament, it’s still a banner that would probably mean more to Damion Lee and Trey Lewis than any league title has meant to a Louisville player before.