Heat vs. Hurricanes: Who's Having the More Impressive Season in Miami?

PJ BernackiCorrespondent IMarch 5, 2013

Heat vs. Hurricanes: Who's Having the More Impressive Season in Miami?

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    Coming off an NBA Championship, MVP LeBron James and company had high hopes for the 2012-13 season and so far they've delivered. Surprisingly, they’re not the only group in Miami playing great basketball.

    The Miami Hurricanes are having a sensational season that has them sitting at No. 6, looking at a possible No. 1 seed for the tournament. Both teams play an exciting brand of basketball with star players and have the city buzzing with anticipation, but whose season has impressed us more?

More Impressive Win Streak

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    The Hurricanes began the season with an embarrassing loss in their second game against Florida Gulf Coast and then a win against a solid La Salle squad put them at 9-3 heading into ACC play, where they proceeded to win 13 more straight games.

    This 14-game streak included a win against Duke when they were No. 1 and a win at North Carolina State when they were No. 19. It is hard for any team, in any conference, to win that many games in a row because of the parity of college basketball (especially this season), the inexperience of the young players and the hostile environments on the road.

    However, the Miami Heat are currently riding a 15-game winning streak as they continue to dominate the best players in the world. They aren’t just beating up on the weaker teams in the league either. During this run, the Heat have taken down the Clippers, Grizzlies and Lakers at home and the Thunder, Bulls and Knicks on the road.

    The Hurricanes' streak was very impressive, but it consisted of 14 games in 48 days against an ACC that’s in a down year, which doesn't compare to the Heat's 15 wins in 32 days against the NBA.

    Advantage: Miami Heat

Exceeding Expectations

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    Before the season even began, the Miami Heat were 9-to-4 favorites to repeat as champions. As the regular season starts to wind down, they remain the best team in the league and still are predicted to come away with the title again this year. LeBron is following up his MVP season with phenomenal play and it seems to have rubbed off on Dwyane Wade who is playing spectacular as of late.

    The Hurricanes were the exact opposite in terms of expectations coming into 2012-13. They began the season unranked and stayed that way until jumping to No. 14 in week 12 after thrashing the former No. 1 Duke by 27 points. The Canes are the No. 6 team in the country and have a strong chance to land a top seed in the tournament, which is amazing considering where they came from.

    Advantage: Miami Hurricanes

Player of the Year Candidates

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    LeBron James is a freak of nature. The best player in the world looks as though he will probably hold off Kevin Durant, Chris Paul and others to take home the MVP again. King James is averaging 27 points, 8.2 rebounds and 7.2 assists per game while shooting 56.3 percent. In his MVP year last season, he averaged 27.1 points, 7.9 rebounds and 6.2 assists.

    A main part of the Canes’ success this season has been the play of point guard Shane Larkin. The sophomore play-maker leads a balanced offense with 13.8 points and 4.3 assists per game and he’s on the court for over 36 minutes a game. Larkin isn’t the most talented player in the nation, but he has led this unexpected team to title contention.

    LeBron James seems like he is clearly the best player in his league, while players like Georgetown’s Otto Porter Jr. and Indiana’s Victor Oladipo may have the upper hand against Larkin.

    Advantage: Miami Heat

In Front of the Home Crowd

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    The Miami Heat and Miami Hurricanes have both been sensational while playing at home. The Heat are 26-3 and the Canes are 13-0. The edge goes to the Hurricanes in this situation simply because they have yet to disappoint in front of their fans, with great home wins over Duke, North Carolina and Virginia. 

    Advantage: Miami Hurricanes

Title Chances

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    It seems as if the New York Knicks are fading from being serious threats to the Heat, so people are turning to the Pacers, but any way you look at it, the Heat are strong favorites to come out of the East. This already puts them in the Championship, while the Hurricanes have to win six games on neutral courts in a tournament accurately called March Madness. The parity of college basketball along with the unpredictability of seeding makes it hard for any team to be considered a favorite.

    Advantage: Miami Heat 

Winner: Miami Heat

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    The No. 6 Hurricanes have shocked everyone in 2012-13 as they hope to bring this magic to the NCAA Tournament. They’ve risen to national elite status as they sit at the top of the ACC, waiting to see if they landed a top seed. Unfortunately, it doesn’t impress as much as the Heat.

    The reigning champions are having an even better season than a year ago and it’s scary. They look unstoppable against even the top competition. The Canes are a surprisingly great team, but it doesn’t compare to the most dominant squad in professional basketball.