After dogging it out with Duke in a tough 76-79 loss on Saturday night, the University of Miami basketball team was ripe for a dip in this week's polls. It happened -- but the damage was minimal to the Hurricanes. According to the latest reports, UM has fallen from fifth to sixth place.
The silver lining the 'Canes can pull from the numbers is that the AP pollsters' ruling on the Duke win was a big, resounding "meh." The Blue Devils remain at number three, a slot they seem to be keeping by dint of Ryan Kelly alone. That, and the unsaid dictum written in the NCAA bylaws that "a space in the AP top ten shall forevereth be reserved for the Blue Devils in all perpetuity."
Now, if you're saying we're trying to take something away from Duke's win -- you're absolutely right. From the cheap seats, hoops know-it-alls were predicting the Blue Devils would slaughter the Hurricanes on their home court.
But anyone who watched that game saw which team was in better command of the floor.
Even though UM lost the game, it responded to extreme pressure -- a prime-time, hyped-soaked rematch; the date-rapist/lax-bro/deb-ball-queen crowd earning their reputation as the most obnoxious fans in sports; the twin barrels of the ACC and NCAA tournaments pointed their way -- with extreme calm.
The Canes led early and throughout the match-up found the holes in Duke's defense -- but the balls just didn't drop in their favor. And they couldn't lock down Kelly, whose 36-point performance pretty much ensures he'll be in a couple of years that white guy sitting on an NBA bench who you think maybe went to Duke.
Don't expect this loss to get the Hurricanes down. If they've shown anything this season, it's the ability to swallow adversity and use it later (check out this week's feature for more). If UM and Duke meet in the ACC tournament, the Hurricanes will be firing from all cylinders.