The Miami Hurricanes are a great team, but they will need Shane Larkin to play at his best for the rest of the tournament in order for the team to make a push to Atlanta.
The season for Larkin has been quite impressive. He’s averaged 14.4 points, 3.9 rebounds, 4.6 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game. He has shot the ball very effectively, making 48.1 percent of his shots and 40.5 of his three-pointers. He had his biggest game of the year in the ACC Championship against North Carolina, scoring 28 points while shooting 8-for-15 from the floor.
The first game wasn’t much of a problem for the Hurricanes. They beat Pacific 78-49 and had the game under control almost the entire time. This was without great play by Larkin, who only had 10 points on 2-8 shooting.
While the team didn’t struggle without a big game from Larkin, they will need him to play better for the rest of the tournament. The East region has several other big names at point guard, and Larkin’s play will directly determine the success of Miami.
UM's bench turned in best showing of the season (28 points, 19 boards) vs. Pacific. The result? Shane Larkin played season-low 29 minutes.— Jorge Milian (@caneswatch) March 23, 2013
The biggest name at point guard in the East is Michael Carter-Williams for the Syracuse Orange. Not only is he a solid scorer, he is also a great passer and pickpocket. He has averaged 11.8 points, 7.8 assists and 2.8 steals per game. He’s third in the NCAA in assists per game and fifth in steals per game.
Tracy Abrams will be a guy to watch out for when the Hurricanes play the Illinois Fighting Illini on Sunday. He averages 10.7 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game. His all-around solid play is one of the bigger reasons for the Illini’s success.
Larkin will need to play at his best against Illinois on Sunday. Offense will be vital, but keeping Abrams contained will be just as important. Luckily for the Hurricanes, Larkin’s defense is pretty solid. His defensive rating is an estimated 94.2, per Sports-Reference.com.
As the tournament continues, the Hurricanes will be playing better and better teams. Larkin isn’t one to shy away from big games. In games against ranked opponents this season, Larkin averaged 16.2 points per game.
The play of Larkin will be critical for the Hurricanes to succeed, especially in the East region. As long as he plays like he did in the ACC tournament, where he averaged 23.7 points per game, then Miami will be in very good shape to go to Atlanta for the Final Four.
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