Miami Basketball: Hurricanes Can Kiss No. 1 Seed Goodbye After Loss to Duke

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMarch 3, 2013

Feb 27, 2013; Coral Gables, FL, USA; Miami Hurricanes guard Shane Larkin (0) dribbles the ball against the Virginia Tech Hokies in the second half at the BankUnited Center. Miami won 76-58. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY Sports

Miami is accomplishing things this year that it has never done in its history. Unfortunately, a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament will not make the list.

This lofty goal seemed insane to start the conference season, but it became almost a certainty as recently as a couple of weeks ago.

The Hurricanes won 14 straight games to start 2013, including a perfect 13-0 record in conference. During this time, they defeated North Carolina State by one point on the road, beat North Carolina twice and destroyed Duke by 27 points at home.

Add these to an underrated victory over La Salle and an early-season win over Michigan State, and the profile was looking pretty good. Reaching the No. 2 spot in both the AP and coaches' polls also was quite impressive.

However, everything changed when the team lost to Wake Forest by 15 on the road. The Demon Deacons are one of the worst teams in the ACC by record (5-11) and by RPI (162).

Obviously, no one is perfect. Teams are allowed to have a bad game every now and again. The problem is that this was a terrible loss to a very poor opponent. To make matters worse, it helped remind people of the terrible losses that the team suffered earlier in the year.

Before conference play began, Miami lost by two points to Indiana State and by 12 points to Florida Gulf Coast. Dropping a game to Arizona is not bad, but the 19-point deficit is embarrassing. The Hurricanes actually ended that contest on a 7-0 run to keep the score slightly respectable.

These are simply not losses that a No. 1 seed should have. 

All of this could have possibly been forgiven if they could have gotten a road win at Duke on Saturday. A season sweep over one of the top teams in the country is hard to ignore, but a split makes the teams tough to separate.

Even though Miami will likely still win the ACC regular-season title, Duke's non-conference resume, which includes wins over Ohio State, Louisville and Minnesota to go with zero losses, will put the Blue Devils ahead for seeding purposes.

The same could be said for other contenders for top seeds. Indiana has seven wins over Top 25 teams in the RPI, while Gonzaga has a 28-2 record with no bad losses.

There will likely be an argument over the fourth No. 1 seed. Michigan, Kansas and Georgetown all have dropped head-scratching road games in conference, but those singular losses represent the only flaws on the resume.

Florida, Louisville and Michigan State will also be in the conversation to be on the top line. They each have as many impressive wins as the Hurricanes with much less baggage. 

With this many teams all boosting impressive profiles, it will take a lot for Miami to get back into the picture. The team would not only need to win the ACC tournament, but the other teams mentioned would also have to struggle in their conference tournaments.

This is simply too much to hope for at this point of the year.

A top seed is more symbolic than anything else. The best team will win regardless of the number next to them on a bracket. However, it would have been nice for this up-and-coming team to be recognized for an unbelievable season.

Unfortunately, that is simply not happening in 2013. 

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