Miami on the Bubble

Every game for the University of Miami from here on is crucial. The Hurricanes face a must win situation Saturday versus Clemson, as the Tigers will try to burst their bubble.

Before the season began, nobody expected the University of Miami (14-7, 5-5) basketball team to win many games. Now, UM faces a must-win game versus Clemson (11-11, 2-8).

With only six games left, and in the middle of the ACC standings, Miami needs to at least split the rest of the season. But, four of the final six games are on the road, and three of the six opponents are ranked.

"Every game is critical. All those games tend to be very intense," coach Frank Haith said. "I hope our guys look at this game as a game that we will have to play extremely well to win.

"I am not afraid to talk about the tournament with our guys. That is our goal. We want to play in the postseason. We did not feel that way at the beginning of the season, but we have now worked ourselves to this point."

In ESPN.com's latest bracket, the Hurricanes are not seeded, listed as one of the last four left out. While on the CBS sports website, Miami is projected as an 11 seed.

Whether or not it is too early to make early tournament projections, one thing is a fact, Miami is on the bubble.

"Every game right now definitely counts," forward Anthony King said. "Everything is on the line, and we want to make it to the tournament."

An area Miami must improve to get to the tournament is their production off the bench. Miami's bench is basically two-deep—guard, Eric Wilkins and forward Gary Hamilton.

While the players off the bench play good defense and work hard on the boards, it would be nice if they add some scoring. Miami's starters have accounted for 87 percent of the teams scoring this season.

"We have to throw them out there and let them do it," Haith said. "Hopefully it will give them confidence so that when they do get there opportunity, they are able to perform."

Although Clemson's ACC record of 2-8 does not impress, with a bucket here and there, they could be in Miami's position at 5-5. Clemson lost to Virginia Tech, Virginia, and Miami by four points of less.

"Every game, they were in them, but they did not win them," Haith said. "It came down to a last second play, or a last second possession. You knew it was going to turn for them, because they have a great low-post player and they play hard."

Miami pulled out a victory in the last meeting versus Clemson, 69-65. Adding to the pressure for a victory, the next game is at Clemson.

"They will be prepared and ready to play," Haith said. "We were very fortunate to win the first game here. In this league, it is tough to win on the road."

As far as this being a must-win game Haith recites the mantra of taking it one game at a time, and the victories and a respectable ACC record will come.

"Everybody throws out 8-8 and others say 7-9. We just have to take it one game at a time. We have to try to steal a win on the road and win at home."

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