What were the odds that the 'Canes would fall to St. Leo's - a team that had never beaten a division I basketball team in its entire existence? I don't know how those odds could be calculated - seriously. But that's exactly what happened as Miami lost 69-67 at the BUC . . . to St. Leo's. I s*%t you not.
Yes, the outcome was inconceivable . . . but my job is to talk everyone (including myself) down from the ledge. If you had a chance to attend the game or watched the live stream, there was little that could be spun positively:
1) Reggie Johnson barely played.
2) A bunch of St. Leo's players looked like slower, less effective versions of Danny Ferry with the same receding hairline problems - and they gave the 'Canes more than they could handle at times . . . at most times.
3) Miami played like flattened roadkill for the entire 1st half and part of the 2nd half.
4) The 'Canes lost . . . to St. Leo's.
There is nothing the 'Canes can build on in this loss - but it's not a devastating loss. Embarrassing? Definitely. But it didn't count. It's like the field goal attempt just after the opposing coach calls time out. Whether it's good from 60 or wide right from 16 - it doesn't count. At all.
Hopefully, watching St. Leo's celebrate as if they won a national championship at half court when the buzzer sounded lights a fire under the 'Canes going forward. It's a long season and the 'Canes are going to be good. Even after this Friday night debacle - I'm still bullish on the 'Canes. What happens next does count.
Trey McKinney Jones (aka the Swiss Army Knife) was deadly from beyond the arc and almost single-handedly shot the 'Canes back into a game they should have won by at least 20 points. Shane Larkin played tough defense, made some timely buckets, and hustled all night.
There's just so much.
There were lots of suspect calls, however, even if St. Leo's players were armed with medieval weapons and were allowed to freely use them, the 'Canes still should have been able to pull this one out.
The 'Canes take on Stetson at the BUC next Friday at 5:30. If Miami comes out strong and plays a complete game, the loss to St. Leo's will fade into obscurity as nothing more than a strange blip on the radar.