All the Canes need is a win

The University of Miami men's basketball team might keep an eye on the Virginia Tech-West Virginia game but if the Hurricanes take care of business on their home floor tonight the final result between the Hokies and Mountaineers won't matter much in Coral Gables.

A victory over the St. John's Red Storm (14-12, 6-9) at the Convocation Center in Miami's regular season finale or a Virginia Tech loss against West Virginia would send the Hurricanes (11-15, 4-11) to the Big East Tournament next week. But a Virginia Tech win combined with a UM loss would end the Hurricanes season- the last place teams in both divisions of the Big East do not advance to the conference tournament.

After a roller coaster of a season that has had more downs than ups, the Hurricanes can save themselves of further criticism from fans and media alike by extending it at least another week and attempt to earn a berth in the NCAA Tournament by capturing the conference championship. And a victory over St. John's would guarantee the Hurricanes that opportunity.

Miami would probably be wise to protect the ball on offense and try to keep it out of the hands of St. John's senior guard Marcus Hatten on defense to improve their chances of a victory. Hatten, the second-leading scorer in the Big East, is coming off a 44-point performance in a 75-59 win over Rutgers, several days after nailing a free throw with no time on the clock to cap an upset over No. 9 Duke. Hatten, averaging 21.7 points per game, is the league's steals leader with 2.77 a game. The Red Storm relies on 6-6 forward Anthony Glover to set a tempo in the paint. Glover, averaging 11.0 points and 6.0 rebounds a contest, is a wide body that routinely creates problems for the opposition inside.

In a rare show of discipline the season the Hurricanes committed a season-low 11 turnovers in the victory over Virginia Tech on Wednesday, while freshmen Eric Wilkins and Armondo Surratt posted career-highs in points scored with 19 and 15, respectively. The Hurricanes had turned the ball over 67 times in three games before facing the Hokies. Ironically, eight of the last 10 UM-St. John's meetings have been decided by five points or less.

St. John's has already secured the fourth seed in the conference tournament and will play Notre Dame in the opening round. Miami has participated in every Big East Tournament since 1992.

Canes Time Top Stories