Will Miami’s loss to Wake Forest be a wake-up call or a sign of trouble?

6 Comments

You could see this coming from Miami.

After starting out ACC play on fire, the Hurricanes needed a three-ball from Kenny Kadji with 17 seconds left to win at Clemson and a layup from Reggie Johnson with five seconds left to hold off Virginia at home.

And on Saturday, No. 2 Miami (22-4, 13-1) dug themselves a 19 point hole in the first half before eventually losing to Wake Forest (12-14, 5-9) 80-65.

The biggest issue for the Hurricanes was on the defensive end of the floor. Those 80 points they gave up? The most Jim Larranaga’s team has allowed this season despite playing three teams that are in contention for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. The Hurricanes were fifth in the country in defensive efficiency entering the game. They were also 285th in pace. Teams don’t score a lot of points

Clemson and Virginia combined to score 93 points in the last 80 minutes of basketball that Miami had played. Wake Forest — Wake Forest — scored 80. They attacked Miami’s big men, they took advantage of transition opportunities, they made the Hurricanes pay for their poor rotations, and they made their open looks. It sounds simple because it was, which is why Wake Forest deserves a ton of credit for this win. They made beating the No. 2 team in the country look easy.

Miami made a run in the second half. At one point they cut Wake Forest’s lead down to five points with the ball. But the Hurricanes just didn’t have any patience on that end of the floor. Shooting off of the first pass on every possession is not the way to make a comeback on the road, and it’s fairly surprising coming from a team chock-full of veterans.

This shouldn’t change things for the Hurricanes. They still have a chance at a No. 1 seed, and it will likely still require them to beat Duke in Cameron next week to make that happen. An entire season’s worth of work doesn’t get flushed down the toilet because of one poor performance on the road in league play.

If anything, this loss was a wake-up call. Miami’s not going to be able to simply get by on their talent alone. They can’t just show up and win a game.

They host Virginia Tech on Wednesday. How they play in that game will tell us a lot more about this team than Saturday did.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.