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The Dagger: College Basketball Blog

Miami’s third loss in four games diminishes its hope of a No. 1 seed

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger


On a wild Wednesday night in college basketball during which five ranked teams lost to unranked opponents, sixth-ranked Miami was the victim of the most unexpected upset.

The Hurricanes squandered an 13-point second-half lead on their home floor and fell 70-68 to a Georgia Tech team whose lone previous road wins this season came against Wake Forest and Virginia Tech. The Yellow Jackets won at the buzzer Wednesday night when Marcus Georges Hunt tipped in his own missed layup.

[Related: Iowa State makes case for NCAA tournament bid]

Miami's loss is its third in four games after the Hurricanes stormed to a 13-0 start in ACC play. One of those losses was an excellent performance in a three-point defeat at second-place Duke, but Wednesday night's home loss and a Feb. 23 upset at Wake Forest raise some questions about Miami.

At the very least, a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament now looks like a long shot for the Hurricanes barring an ACC tournament title and other elite teams suffering unexpected losses. Bolstering Miami's profile are victories over Duke, Michigan State and NC State and a sweep of North Carolina, but there are too many RPI-killing losses dragging down the Hurricanes.

[Related: Villanova’s roller coaster regular season ends with a big win]

There will now be pressure on Miami to rebound with a home win over Clemson in its regular season finale. If the Hurricanes were to lose that game and Duke were to beat North Carolina, they would share the ACC title even though Miami led by three games with three to play.

The bigger key for Miami may be solving its recent defensive issues and getting more out of big man Reggie Johnson.

Georgia Tech shot 51.7 percent from the field, exploiting the Hurricanes from behind the arc and in the paint. And Johnson played just 15 minutes and made only 1 of 4 shots, benched in favor of Julian Gamble for much of the game.

It will be interesting to see whether this rough patch is remembered as an aberration or an omen for Miami The Hurricanes have the talent, resilience and experience to make a deep NCAA tournament run, but can't let this recent adversity carry into the postseason.

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