Basketball season has arrived. The Hurricanes men’s basketball team is ranked No. 16 in the preseason USA Today/ESPN Coaches’ Poll and faces heightened expectations after last year’s unprecedented season. It is the highest preseason ranking in team history.
Even though the team is returning four starters – including preseason All-ACC Team pick Jack McClinton – from last season, some ask if this ranking is deserving or justified.
I would argue that, indeed, the ranking is a bit too high for this Hurricane team; however, how the team responds to this pressure and hype remains to be seen.
The story of this season could be the year that the Miami Hurricanes broke through the cellars of the ACC, challenging the perennial conference heavyweights. But it could also prove to be a heavy dose of reality where we see the team stumble through play in the nation’s most competitive league and miss out on the NCAA tournament.
Thus, this team is in a peculiar position. History is definitely not on our side. Yes, it’s true we are not Duke, UNC, or Indiana – all storied programs. Still, under coach Frank Haith, the team has made great strides in recent years and hasn’t since the great Rick Barry boasted such a talent as they do now in McClinton.
Any barometer of where the team stands should be obvious to most even before Christmas break with the squad taking place in many high-profile contests. Most notably, the Canes face off with Ohio State at home in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Dec. 2.
The script remains to be written on what the season may bring. Until then, tune in and watch your Miami Hurricanes.