Basketball, Commentary, Sports

Canes basketball’s NIT run could propel Miami to strong start next season

Freshman James Palmer (No. 12) attempts a shot during Saturday's game against Alabama, as part of the Hurricane's NIT run. The Canes won 73-66 and will continue to the next round. Victoria McKaba // Staff Photographer

Freshman James Palmer (No. 12) attempts a shot during Saturday’s game against Alabama, as part of the Hurricane’s NIT run. The Canes won 73-66 and will continue to the next round. Victoria McKaba // Staff Photographer

They didn’t make the Big Dance, but they might be playing in the Garden.

After two scrappy wins, Miami now finds itself just one win away from a trip to New York City for a NIT Final Four appearance.

Though not the tournament many Canes fans envisioned, there is still much to play for this season for Miami. A run to NYC or an NIT championship would undoubtedly propel Miami to a pre-season top 25 ranking next season, with every single starter returning, and the additions of transfer forward Kamari Murphy and incoming freshman forward Anthony Lawrence.

As Jim Larrañaga noted earlier this week, the NIT can certainly serve as a springboard of confidence for a team. As an assistant for Virginia in the early ’80s, the Caveliers won the NIT Championship – the following season, led by Ralph Sampson, UVA reached the Final Four.

In the 2011-2012 season, Miami reached the second round of the NIT before falling to Minnesota. With a roster composed of primarily the same players, that team of course reached the Sweet 16 the next season.

The Hurricanes were led by 17 points from Manu Lecomte in their 73-66 win over Alabama Saturday, with Davon Reed adding 15, and 13 for Deandre Burnett.

Miami will either host Arizona State or travel to Richmond depending on the result of that game Sunday night, which was not finished by the time of printing.

March 22, 2015


AJ Ricketts

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