MEN’S BASKETBALL: Canes headed to NCAA tournament

To see more of Miami’s trip to March Madness, go to “Corey’s Stories: Dispatches from the NCAA tournament” at

After six consecutive years of being on the outside looking in, the Hurricanes have finally gained a berth to the Big Dance.

For the first time since 2002, Miami has been invited to compete in the NCAA tournament, which comprises the top 65 teams in the country. The Hurricanes were elated after seeing their name appear on the screen during Selection Sunday, especially considering that none of the current players have ever had a chance to compete at this level before.

“I was shocked,” guard Lance Hurdle said. “I was like a kid in a candy store. It’s a blessing.”

“We’re very excited about this,” guard Jack McClinton said. “We just look to Coach [Frank] Haith to lead us because he’s done it before. We’re looking to him to lead us like he has all year.”

Being invited to the NCAA tournament is particularly sweet for the Hurricanes, who won their first 12 games to start the season. However, they ran into trouble against teams within their conference, and began their ACC schedule with a 2-6 record. But Haith never lost faith in his team.

“I never wavered on what I believed this team was capable of doing and what we were capable of accomplishing,” Haith said.

Following the Florida State loss, Miami began playing inspired basketball, winning six of their final eight games, including a one-point upset win over No. 5 Duke. The Canes finished the regular season with a record of 21-9 (8-8 ACC), and won their first game in the ACC tournament to help solidify a spot for themselves in the NCAA tournament.

“When so many people said we couldn’t do it, it’s gratifying,” Haith said. “We’ve done it without a lot of fanfare. We’ve done it with hard work and determination and by not worrying what people say about us.”

Miami will go into the tournament as a No. 7 seed in the south region, and will face No. 10 St. Mary’s Friday at 12:30 p.m. St. Mary’s, a small Catholic school located in California, earned only their fifth NCAA tournament bid in school history. Their bid was due in large part to their ability to remain nationally ranked for a majority of the season.

“They play very intelligent basketball,” Haith said. “They’re very similar to Duke in that they rely on driving the ball, drawing you in, throwing it back out and shooting threes.”

Should the Hurricanes beat the St. Mary’s Gaels on Friday, their next opponent would likely be Texas, who is expected to win their first round matchup against Austin Peay. Were this to occur, it would pit Haith against Texas coach Rick Barnes, whom he worked with as an assistant coach before coming to Miami.

“He called me the night of [Selection Sunday],” Haith said. “All the conversation was very complimentary of our team and what we’ve accomplished here.”

After experiencing inconsistencies throughout the years, Miami now looks use their NCAA tournament berth to maintain a winning atmosphere for its basketball program.

“I think we can have a special program here,” Haith said. “I do think we have things in place.”

Joel Brown may be reached at

Be sure to catch this Friday’s opening round game against St. Mary’s (Ca.) at 12:30 p.m. on CBS (Channel 4 in Miami). The Rat will be hosting the official watch party, sponsored by Category 5.

March 20, 2008


The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami

Around the Web
  • Error
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

RSS Error: WP HTTP Error: fsocket timed out

Father, mother, and daughter will all be students at the University of Miami this fall semester. ...

UM weather expert and senior research associate Brian McNoldy explains the science behind lightning ...

As students make their way back to campus for the new school year, here’s a refresher on some of the ...

President Julio Frenk and student leaders formally welcome first-year and transfer students to campu ...

Marc Gellman, a University of Miami research associate professor, recounts his experience attending ...

On the final night of its trip abroad, the Miami men's basketball team defeated LCC Internation ...

Miami's defensive tackles have traditionally been some of the Hurricanes' best players, wh ...

Sophomores Brevin Jordan and Will Mallory look to follow in the footsteps of the greats before them ...

Jarren Williams stepped into the spotlight for the first time Tuesday as Miami's starting quart ...

Former Miami soccer player Dalanda Ouendeno is attempting to become the first foreign female pit cre ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.