ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 08: Mfon Udofia #0 of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets drawls a foul from Shane Larkin #0 of the Miami Hurricanes during their first round game of 2012 ACC Men's Basketball Conferene Tournament at Philips Arena on March 8, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Even though so much went wrong in the first half of yesterday's first round win over Tech, so much went right in the second half. Miami guarded the perimeter well, played sticky man-to-man defense, and pulled away for the 54-36 win. What's the best the Canes could have done last night? Avoid disaster. Ask Northwestern, Oregon, and Mississippi State how they feel after getting upset by lower seeds in the first game of their conference tourneys.
Tonight, Miami has a chance to get marquee win #3 on the season, what would be its second against third-seeded FSU, and a chance to advance to the tourney semis for the second time in three years (!!!). Would that third feather in the quality win cap be enough to offset a 3-10 record vs RPI top 100? Given the collection mediocrity huddled in the middle this year's bubble (and the lack of quality wins by most of the true bubblers), I think so. A loss, and I think it's very possible the Canes might be hosting an NIT game.
Interestingly (at least to me), FSU has lost their first conference tourney game the last two seasons (*knocks on wood*), so hopefully they will carry that same unclutch mentality to the floor in the Phillips Arena tonight.
Who will take the rubber match between these two teams tonight? Hopefully, the legs are springy for the Canes after a physical game last night.