Coaches, fans and the University of Miami’s men’s basketball team gathered at The Rathskeller to watch Selection Sunday on CBS.
Before the show started, Head Coach Jim Larrañaga stood up and told the crowd to cheer loudly when the team got announced on the big screen. Even when a team knows that it will be in the tournament, it is always exciting to hear your name called while 67 other teams are waiting for their placement. In addition, the fired-up Canes were shown on screen when the team found out it was heading to Providence, Rhode Island.
As projected by ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi, the Miami Hurricanes men’s basketball team received a three-seed for the NCAA tournament, or what is most commonly referred to as “March Madness.”
The road ahead will not be easy for the Canes, for they were placed in the South Region where it is arguably the most difficult section of the draw. The section is led at the top by Big 12 champions and the No. 1 overall seed in the entire tournament, Kansas.
Miami will play against the No. 14 seed Buffalo in the second round. You can watch the game Thursday at 6:50 p.m. on TNT.
I see an experienced Miami team that is capable of controlling this game and winning with a little over double digits.
Saturday is when the Canes will face its first true test, for they will play the winner of Arizona and Wichita St.
Arizona, which made the Elite 8 last season, battled top-seeded Oregon in the PAC 12 semifinals but fell in overtime. Wichita St. is led by seniors Ron Baker and Fred VanVleet as they made it to the Elite 8 in 2013 and finished the 2014 season 35-1, after losing to Kentucky in the third round.
The Canes should be able to overcome a tight matchup and advance to the Sweet 16 for the second time in team history.
I predict that Miami will square off with No. 2 seed Villanova in an instant classic and win in overtime. The Canes will be able to withstand the pressure and reach the Elite Eight for the first time in team history.
Many people believe a championship run is possible for this team, and I think the Canes have the tools to compete for the title. However, Kansas has shown no weak point on the team for Miami to take advantage of. Hopefully, my projection is wrong and the Canes can advance to the Final Four.
It is complicated putting together a formula for success in March. Tenacity and determination is what drives many teams toward success during March Madness. That is what builds so many upsets along the way.
The Canes need to be prepared to play their best basketball every game from now on, since a loss in the tournament will probably mean the end of the season.
It is win or go home.