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Will Miami’s loss to Wake Forest be a wake-up call or a sign of trouble?

Feb 23, 2013, 3:44 PM EDT

Madison Jones, Trey McKinney Jones, Reggie Johnson

You could see this coming from Miami.

After starting out ACC play on fire, the Hurricanes needed a three-ball from Kenny Kadji with 17 seconds left to win at Clemson and a layup from Reggie Johnson with five seconds left to hold off Virginia at home.

And on Saturday, No. 2 Miami (22-4, 13-1) dug themselves a 19 point hole in the first half before eventually losing to Wake Forest (12-14, 5-9) 80-65.

The biggest issue for the Hurricanes was on the defensive end of the floor. Those 80 points they gave up? The most Jim Larranaga’s team has allowed this season despite playing three teams that are in contention for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. The Hurricanes were fifth in the country in defensive efficiency entering the game. They were also 285th in pace. Teams don’t score a lot of points

Clemson and Virginia combined to score 93 points in the last 80 minutes of basketball that Miami had played. Wake Forest — Wake Forest — scored 80. They attacked Miami’s big men, they took advantage of transition opportunities, they made the Hurricanes pay for their poor rotations, and they made their open looks. It sounds simple because it was, which is why Wake Forest deserves a ton of credit for this win. They made beating the No. 2 team in the country look easy.

Miami made a run in the second half. At one point they cut Wake Forest’s lead down to five points with the ball. But the Hurricanes just didn’t have any patience on that end of the floor. Shooting off of the first pass on every possession is not the way to make a comeback on the road, and it’s fairly surprising coming from a team chock-full of veterans.

This shouldn’t change things for the Hurricanes. They still have a chance at a No. 1 seed, and it will likely still require them to beat Duke in Cameron next week to make that happen. An entire season’s worth of work doesn’t get flushed down the toilet because of one poor performance on the road in league play.

If anything, this loss was a wake-up call. Miami’s not going to be able to simply get by on their talent alone. They can’t just show up and win a game.

They host Virginia Tech on Wednesday. How they play in that game will tell us a lot more about this team than Saturday did.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

  1. thebadguyswon - Feb 23, 2013 at 4:45 PM


  2. jpopejoy - Feb 23, 2013 at 5:05 PM

    Miami, for some unknown reason has been a media darling. They have been beating an extremely mediocre ACC. if they play like garbage (Clemson game) y’all talk about how great teams win on an off night. News flash…even on an off night the #2 team shouldn’t win by 2…only putting up 45 vs Clemson. They are 5th or 6th in the big tens. They’ll make sweet 16 at best. Or to simplify just read the comment above mine…

  3. rodge1 - Feb 23, 2013 at 5:15 PM

    As a Miami fan I’m excited to have a relevant team in basketball for once. All the haters can say what they want, we’ll see what happens in the tournament. Go Canes

  4. barnesaintnoble - Feb 23, 2013 at 5:25 PM

    Yeah, the ACC is really weak this year and Miami has been a little overrated. Larkin is still a top-5 PG in the country, Kadji is an all-around great athlete/player and top 10 draft pick and Johnson is a beast on the inside, scoring and rebounding. While they might move down to 7 or 8 and get a 2 seed, I wouldn’t want to run into them in the tournament. Lucky for them, they got a wake up call before the win or go home season starts.

  5. imwhitewolf - Feb 23, 2013 at 7:39 PM

    An entire season’s worth of work doesn’t get flushed down the toilet because of one poor performance on the road in league play.

    —————————-What a change in demeanor. All we heard when Duke lost by 23 AT Miami, w/o Ryan Kelly, was how devastating a loss that was. All I heard on ESPN Radio today was excuses for Miami. At least Duke lost to a ranked team instead of one four games under .500. Miami is talented and should make a nice run in the tourney but let’s be a little more balanced in how we view Duke and Miami. Can’t wait to see these two teams next Sat in Cameron.

  6. jpopejoy - Feb 23, 2013 at 8:20 PM

    Miami has lost to Florida Gulf Coast, Indiana St, and Wake Forest. Not a resume of a 1 seed. End of story

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