Canes fall to FSU, now hope for NCAA bid

Has the bubble burst for Miami as far as its NCAA Tournament chances are concerned?

The talk seemed to be that was so after the Hurricanes lost what some considered to be a must-win game by an 82-71 count to 17th-ranked Florida State in the quarterfinals of the ACC tourney.
By losing, the Hurricanes failed to keep pace with North Carolina State, another ACC bubble team that advanced to the semifinals by beating Virginia earlier in the day. The Wolfpack, 22-11 overall, beat the 19-12 Hurricanes twice in the regular season.
There were mitigating circumstances in the loss to Florida State to be sure.
Just a few hours before tipoff, the Hurricanes learned they would be without their leading scorer, guard Durand Scott.
Scott became the latest casualty in the ongoing joint school-NCAA investigation into charges claimed by a booster that he had provided many extra benefits to Hurricane athletes.
Most of charges involved Miami football players, who served various suspensions last fall. Scott is the third basketball player to be caught up in the scandal.
Earlier, senior DeQuan Jones sat out 10 games and center Reggie Johnson one, coincidentally also against Florida State.
The booster claimed he had paid an assistant coach from the former staff at Miami $10,000 to give to Jones' family to secure his signing. Johnson's family reportedly received impermissible benefits also from a former assistant coach.
The school provided no details on Scott's case other than to release a statement saying that Scott had been ruled ineligible for receiving impermissible benefits.
The school said it is immediately seeking his reinstatement from the NCAA, but that was too late to save Scott against Florida State.
He had scored 17 points and had seven rebounds in Miami's 78-62 win over Florida State in Coral Gables on Feb. 26.
Obviously, if the Hurricanes do receive an at-large bid to the NCAA tourney or play in the NIT, he is going to be counted on for a big role.

--Sophomore G Rion Brown came off the bench and ignited Miami's second-half rally in the win over Georgia Tech. Brown hit back-to-back 3-pointers to spark an 18-0 Miami second-half run that overcame a three-point deficit. He also converted a spectacular alley-oop dunk off an inbounds pass with less than a second on the shot clock. Brown ended up with 10 points, the second time in three games he has scored in double figures.
--Freshman G Shane Larkin led Miami in scoring with 12 points against Georgia Tech. He was only 3-of-8 from the field but went 6-of-7 from the free throw line. He also had three key steals in the second half to wake up the Hurricanes, who had been lethargic in the first half and went to the locker room down 20-19 at the break.
BY THE NUMBERS: 14.8 -- After averaging 10.6 points a game against non-conference opponents, Kadji stepped up his production to 14.8 a game during ACC play.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We've accomplished so much in this one year, but we have so much more to accomplish." -- Senior G Malcolm Grant, after the Hurricanes finished with their first winning record in ACC play by improving to 9-7 with their win over Boston College.
--Miami awaits either an NCAA Tournament or NIT bid after losing in the ACC tourney quarterfinals to rival Florida State.
ON THE SPOT: Junior F Kenny Kadji had a miserable ACC tournament and is going to have to pick up his game for the Hurricanes to advance in the postseason, whether they are in the NCAA tourney or the NIT. After averaging 14.8 points and shooting 50.9 percent from the field in 16 regular-season ACC games, Kadji scored just 10 points total and was only 3-of-18 from the field in Miami's two ACC tourney appearances.
FUTURES MARKET: Miami has had a taste -- well, make it a healthy sip -- of success in the ACC tournament. The Hurricanes have won at least one game in the event in five of the seven years it has played in it and won two games to reach the semifinals in 2010, losing to Duke by three points. Last year, the Hurricanes rallied from 10 points down in the final minute of regulation to beat Virginia in overtime in the first round, then led North Carolina by as many as 19 points in the second half before losing by two.
--Freshman G Shane Larkin led Miami in scoring in its ACC tournament games, combining for 28 points on 9-of-22 shooting in the win over Georgia Tech (12 points) and the loss to Florida State (16). He also handed out eight assists and had four steals to lead the Hurricanes in those categories as well.
--Senior G Malcolm Grant snapped back from an off night in the win over Georgia Tech (1-of-4 shooting, 0-of-3 on 3-point attempts) to lead Miami with 19 points against the Seminoles Friday. A good sign for future postseason outings was his 5-of-8 shooting from 3-point range against the Seminoles.
--Junior G Durand Scott was 5-of-7 from the field and matched F Kenny Kadji for team scoring honors with 14 points against Boston College.
--Walk-on senior G Ryan Quigtar, who made his first career start in what was his 20th career appearance, scored the ninth point of his career and first of the season when he made one of two free throws with 5.6 seconds left in the win over Boston College.
--Junior C Reggie Johnson had four assists, one off his career high, to go with his 10 points and seven rebounds against BC.

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