Canes are going to the NCAA Tournament

The Hurricanes are going to the Big Dance! The seventh-seeded University of Miami men's basketball team will open NCAA Tournament play versus 10th-seeded St. Mary's on Friday at Alltel Arena in North Little Rock, Ark., at 11:30 a.m. (CT).

The winner advances to Sunday's second round to face the winner of the No. 2 Texas/No. 15 Austin Peay game.

It marks the 14th postseason appearance for the Hurricanes and the sixth trip to the NCAA Tournament. It is the third postseason appearance for Miami under fourth-year head coach Frank Haith, whose squad put together a 10-game turnaround from last season to head into the Big Dance with a 22-10 record and a program-best fifth-place finish in the ACC, the nation's top-ranked conference.

Although it marks a debut for Haith's Hurricanes in the NCAA Tournament, he has previously advanced as an associate head coach or assistant coach five times -- including three appearances in the Sweet Sixteen, one appearance in the Elite Eight and one trip to the Final Four.

Miami has advanced as far as the Sweet Sixteen, in 1999-2000, and last advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2001-02.

Tenth-seeded St. Mary's finished the regular season with a 25-6 overall record and 12-2 mark in West Coast Conference play. The Gaels are making their second trip to the NCAA Tournament in four years, and are led by Patrick Mills -- the WCC's Newcomer of the Year -- with 14.5 points and 3.4 assists per game. St. Mary's has dropped three of their last five games, including falling to eventual conference champs San Diego in double-overtime in the WCC Tournament semifinals, but is 4-0 on neutral courts this season.

Miami leads the all-time series with St. Mary's, 4-0, with all four previous meetings occuring between 1963-1969.


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