ACC Tournament 2012: Why Miami Is Most Dangerous Team in Tournament

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 5, 2012

CORAL GABLES, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Reggie Johnson #42 and Durand Scott #1 of the Miami (Fl) Hurricanes rebound during a game against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at the BankUnited Center on February 18, 2012 in Coral Gables, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Tournament time is upon us in college basketball. The ACC Tournament kicks off this Thursday as the eight lowest seeds face off in order to advance to the quarterfinals. Duke and North Carolina have dominated the conference tournament recently, winning 14 of the last 15 titles between them.

As the top two seeds this year, these rivals are teams are most likely to win, but they aren't the school that provides the most danger.

Every year, in almost every conference tournament, there is that one team that with a run in the tourney, can make it to the Big Dance.

The most dangerous teams have their backs against the wall, with no other option other than to win.

In the ACC Tournament, that team would be the Miami Hurricanes.

Joe Lunardi has Miami as one of his last four teams out, so it's imperative for the Hurricanes to win a few crucial games in order to punch their ticket. It's the only chance they have. Otherwise, they're looking at the NIT.

They finished with an overall record of 18-11 (9-7 ACC). Miami has their signature win over Duke at Cameron Indoor.

Although Miami finished with an RPI of 55, they really struggled in their biggest games.

According to CBS' RPI, the Hurricanes finished with a 2-10 record against teams with an RPI of 75 or higher.

It's easy to say that Miami is really motivated for a good showing in the ACC Tournament.

Looking at the bracket, the Hurricanes would have a pretty easy road for the first couple of games.

In the first round, they face Georgia Tech. In their only meeting against the Yellow Jackets, they won, 64-49, at Alexander Memorial Coliseum.

Then, in the second round, a matchup with Florida State would loom. They split their two games, but it's hard not to say Miami has the edge following a 78-62 home win over the Seminoles on February 26.

After that, it's up in the air. Should they advance to the semifinals, the Hurricanes would likely face Duke.

As stated earlier, in their only matchup of the season, Miami bested the Blue Devils in overtime, 78-74.

Plus, if there's anybody who knows about taking a team on an unexpected run deep into a tournament, it's Hurricanes head coach Jim Larranaga.

Famous for taking George Mason to the Final Four, Larranaga has done a pretty good job with Miami, leading them to their first winning record in-conference since joining the ACC.

Miami always seemed to be a talented team under Frank Haith, but for some reason, the pieces never came together.

Expect that this year, things will fall into place the Hurricanes during the ACC Tournament, and they'll be dancing for the first time since 2008.