Miami can be, should be, is … the new Clemson
They were 15-1, cruising along, yet had plenty of skeptics.
This is not yet a tail of redemption or proving everyone wrong, because, right now, Miami is much different-looking at 15-2. Paper tiger, I tell you. The only thing surprising about last night’s loss was that Miami did it so spectacularly, falling behind 35 POINTS in the first half against the Hokies.
Yes, after holding the torch for a few years, Clemson, with its huge home win over North Carolina last night, has passed the flame of late-season futility (even though we’re not late in the season yet, I know) on to to its ACC brethren.
Dwayne Collins is certainly formidable and a real-deal player, but this a mostly-young team that failed to make The Dance last season and showed us no real reason why that will change in 2010.
Has any team in the ACC played as weak a schedule as tha U? No. It’s softer than the pillow my girlfriend covets and refuses to ever let me use. (Damn you.) It’s non-con schedule is just laughable. It’s ranked in the mid-300s. I won’t insult you by listing off the directional and non-D-I (yep, there’s one of those in there) schools Haith scheduled. It’s very clear: Miami (No. 36 in KenPom, No. 70 in the RPI) doesn’t have the wiggle room to lose with regularity in the ACC this season that most other schools do.
I promise you, a 23-9 season that doesn’t include at least one win over UNC, Duke or Clemson is not going to get Miami a bid.
Miami supporters will cling to the laughable notion that wins over Minnesota and South Carolina will carry any sort of weight. How’s that going to stack up against, say, a team like Temple, which owns non-con wins over Seton Hall, Virginia Tech, Villanova and Siena. And that was the first school that came to mind. There are 40 other at-large contenders that will confidently line up their non-cons against Miami in a cocaine heartbeat.
I think last night was the beginning of a five-game stretch that Miami may come out of with a 1-4 record. Are Duke, Clemson, North Carolina waiting int he near future? Nope. After soiling itself against Virginia Tech, the Hurricanes get the chance to get the earth back on its normal axis and knock Virginia — the ACC’s only remaining unbeaten team in conference — off on the road this Saturday.
But that game is no gimme, and we all know it. The fact we don’t consider Virginia a blip on Miami’s radar is telling enough.
After the Cavs, it’s home against B.C. and then a week off before going to Maryland and then taking on yet-to-be-determined Wake Forest. I’ts a winnable, critical part of the schedule — and I think the ‘Canes fall flat on their face.
I’m not seeing seven conference wins for this group. It feels like it will not only stumble toward the finish line, but bloody its knees trying to get there.
Better to schedule up, take a few lumps, learn a few lessons and show the Selection Committee you aren’t afraid than to line up a Whac-a-Mole slate and hope you can dodge as many tree branches as possible on the back end/your conference schedule.
For all the lessons Miami missed out on against quality opponents, it’s got a big one coming to it in two months.
(Note to any sort of deity: Please don’t let me be wrong about this. I took a big swing on this one.)