Thursday, March 7, 2013
What is Miami missing?
By Luke Lapinski
Just two weeks ago, there was talk Miami's rapid ascension this season could land them at No. 1 in the AP Top 25. Then the Hurricanes lost to Wake Forest, ending that conversation for the time being. They followed that up with a win over Virginia Tech, but lost to a revitalized Duke squad and entered this week ranked No. 6 in the nation.
The tough times continued last night though, as Jim Larranaga's group fell at home to Georgia Tech. That means Miami still hasn't wrapped up sole possession of the ACC title outright just yet. And it also means the 'Canes have dropped three of four at the wrong time of year. What will it take to get them back on track as a national championship contender?
ESPN's Jay Williams addressed that concern on College Basketball Live, suggesting Shane Larkin may have to be great -- not just good -- and noting that this team needs more from Reggie Johnson as a post presence. Johnson won't ever be leaned on as the club's top scoring option, but he has managed just 2.0 points and 3.0 rebounds per game over Miami's last three losses -- well below his season averages of 8.1 ppg and 7.5 apg. The Hurricanes are still a very dangerous group because they have a number of guys who can contribute in a variety of ways, but they need to get Johnson performing the way he was earlier if they intend to make a deep NCAA Tournament run.