Miami Basketball: Hurricanes Backcourt Key to Sweet 16 Berth

Stephen SheehanCorrespondent IMarch 24, 2013

Shane Larkin has been Miami's top playmaker.
Shane Larkin has been Miami's top playmaker.Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

The Miami Hurricanes will only get as far as their backcourt will take them. 

So far this season, that's been a winning formula. 

Miami's dynamic duo of Shane Larkin and Durand Scott has carried the team to new heights in 2012-13. Under the tutelage of second-year coach Jim Larranaga, the Hurricanes earned their first ACC championship and the best record in team history. 

While the Canes have benefited from a cast of role players, the duo of Larkin and Scott has been the difference. And they couldn't be more different. 

Scott is both bigger and more experienced than Larkin but has found a way to mesh his talents with those of his younger teammate. Checking in at 6'5", 203 pounds, Scott was the Canes' starting point guard for most of his career before Larkin—the son of MLB legend Barry Larkin—transferred from DePaul. 

Although Larkin ended up taking over those duties, the two have found a way to make magic in Miami, writes Tom Spousta of The New York Times.

That basic instinct has evolved into a killer chemistry between Larkin and Scott, whose styles seem to blend into any situation.

After a solid junior year, Scott has become a more consistent player in his final year at Miami. His three-point shooting has improved tremendously, and he's even experienced a marked improvement in his field-goal percentage. 

However, the true star of the Canes backcourt is Larkin. The ultra-athletic, undersized point guard does it all. 

Besides shooting 40.5 percent from downtown, he leads the team in assists (4.6) and steals (2.0). 

His versatility and speed make him a dynamic threat every time the ball is in his hands, so it's no wonder Larranaga put him at the point. While both players are certainly good in their own right, the combination is killer. 

If Larkin's shot isn't falling—like in the Hurricanes' opening-round win over Pacific—Scott picks up the slack. Larkin managed just 10 points on 2-of-8 shooting, but the Canes still won by 29 points due to Scott's 21 points on 5-of-8 shooting from downtown. 

Moving forward, the competition will only get tougher for the Canes. Illinois is the only thing standing in the way of a Sweet 16 berth, and Larkin/Scott have a chance to send the Illini packing. 

As long as the two continue to terrorize opponents with their blend of speed and slick shooting, the stage is set for the Canes to make it to the Sweet 16 and beyond.