Miami Hurricanes Basketball: Canes Will Be Legitimate Contender in March

Alex BallentineFeatured ColumnistFebruary 9, 2013

Feb 9, 2013; Coral Gables, FL, USA; Miami Hurricanes forward/center Kenny Kadji (left) guard Rion Brown (center) and forward/center Julian Gamble (right) during the second half against the North Carolina Tar Heels at the BankUnited Center. Miami won 87-61. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

On the strength of an 11-game win streak and an undefeated record in the ACC, the Miami Hurricanes are one of the hottest teams in college basketball. 

After dropping back-to-back games against Arizona and Indiana State in December, the Hurricanes are playing better basketball than just about anyone else in the country. 

However, it's one thing to be the hot team right now. It's quite another to turn that into postseason success.

Do the Hurricanes have what it takes to make a deep run come March? Yes. Here's why. 


Road Tested

If the Hurricanes were only pulling off big wins at home while looking mediocre on the road, there would be some concern that this team can't play in a March Madness atmosphere. 

However, that's not the case. Miami boasts an undefeated record on the road. 

Most of the Hurricanes' signature wins have come at the friendly confines of South Beach, but they do boast a one-point win over N.C. State on the road. In a season when top teams have been upset numerous times on the road, the Hurricanes' perfect record shows that they are not fazed by playing away from home. 

That should be a very helpful trait when making a run at the national title in March. 


Shane Larkin

Much of postseason success comes from having a strong backcourt. When you have a point guard like Shane Larkin, that's a clear strength.

Larkin has everything you want from a playmaking point guard. He can dish (4.2 assists per game) but doesn't turn it over too much (2.0 turnovers per game), and he can knock down the three-ball (41.2 percent shooter from downtown). 

He doesn't go off every night, but he's capable of putting up big games when Miami needs him. His 19-point, nine-assist performance in the Hurricanes' blowout win over North Carolina on Saturday is a perfect example of the kind of game he can put up when it's tourney time. 



Larkin's continued excellent play will be vital for the Hurricanes to reach their full potential, but he's by no means the only contributor on the team. 

Miami's greatest strength is its depth and balance. It plays great team defense and doesn't rely on any one guy to carry the scoring load.

While many teams have a player who scores 20 points per game, the Hurricanes don't have anyone that averages more than 14. Yet, they have found a way to go 19-3 and 10-0 in the ACC.

The Canes will be a tough out come tournament time because even if one player is having an off-night, they are used to picking up the slack for one another. A team with that kind of balance and resolve is always dangerous.