Miami Basketball: Pivotal Keys to Hurricanes' Tournament Success
The Miami Hurricanes are one of many teams with the talent to pull off an undefeated run through the NCAA tournament.
After a surprisingly dominant season, they are in a strong position to do just that.
Finishing the regular season at 26-6, the Hurricanes went 15-3 in ACC play to take the conference and enter as the conference tournament's No. 1 seed.
While Miami lost three of its last five to close out the regular season, the Canes have put to bed any concern that slump would permeate into the postseason as they have rolled their way to the ACC tournament finals.
Here are three things they need to do to keep that momentum going through the NCAA tournament.
Use Their Age Advantage
In comparison to today's college basketball world, the Hurricanes are more ancient than house phones.
Of the top seven players, in terms of minutes this past season, the youngest is 20-year-old Shane Larkin. In fact, Larkin, Rion Brown and Trey McKinney Jones are the only three of the seven who are younger than 23.
While the simple fact that these guys are still in college and not in the NBA is a sign that they lack the kind of other-worldly talent of some of the more electrifying youngsters, it does offer some distinct benefits.
Being more physically mature, Miami is, and has been, in a position to wear their opponents down. Miami must make these games as physical as possible to help magnify this advantage.
Overcome Lack of Tournament Experience
Just because the Hurricanes have an age advantage, it doesn't mean they are going to have an advantage in NCAA tournament experience.
The Hurricanes haven't been dancing since 2008, when they were bounced in the second round by Texas.
However, head coach Jim Larranaga has tournament experience, and he has certainly shown he has the coaching talent to push all the right buttons with his team.
Larranaga's guidance will be more important than ever as he prepares these guys for the tournament. He must have his team mentally prepared throughout their entire tournament run, and he must realize when he needs to get them on the right track during games.
How far will Miami advance?
One of the great things about this Hurricanes team is that they have proven they can win a game in any style it is played, and that pace does not matter.
This team can win a game where they score in the 50s just as well as they can when they score in the 80s.
Miami needs to use this to its advantage by not worrying about the pace of a game and letting its opposition force its hand by getting it to try and speed up or slow down a game.
The Hurricanes simply need to focus on getting good shots and playing good defense. They can let their opposition worry about the pace.
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