Before this season, only twice in program history were the Miami Hurricanes ranked in the preseason AP poll (01-02 #21, 08-09 #17). Which means that before the ball has even tipped, this 2017-2018 squad has already made program history, with the highest preseason AP (#13) and Coaches (#12) poll rankings in school history. To put this into perspective, the 2012-2013 team that won the only ACC championship in school history, and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen, didn’t find themselves ranked until late January. The hype is real this year, but it’s something that this team is built for.
Despite only having one starting senior on the roster, the ‘Canes are far from inexperienced. They return a total of 9 players who saw action in last year’s NCAA tournament, including future lottery pick Bruce Brown Jr. who was recently ranked as the 19th best player in the nation by ESPN. Add to the mix, an electrifying 5-star recruit in Lonnie Walker IV, and this ‘Canes team is going to be on everyone’s radar.
But the road to a second ACC title certainly won’t be easy, as the ‘Canes are 1 of 5 ACC schools in the top 25, including Duke. Led by Senior Greyson Allen, the Blue Devils are ranked #1 in both the preseason AP and Coaches polls, with only a few games on the schedule that can possibly trip them up. One of those contests will take place in Coral Gables, when the ‘Canes play host to the Blue Devils on January 15, so if your calendar isn’t marked yet, it better be by the end of this sentence. The other ranked ACC schools are North Carolina (#9), Notre Dame (#14) and Louisville (#16), all of whom appear on the ‘Canes schedule just once this year.
Early on the schedule is favorable for Miami, as they won’t see a ranked opponent until November 29th, when they head to Minnesota to take on the Golden Gophers in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. While previous ‘Canes teams have faltered early to lesser competition (even the best team in program history fell to both Indiana State and Florida Gulf Coast, before they were known as Dunk City) this team has a perfect balance of experience, depth, and raw talent that should be able to get out of any tricky situations against upstart mid-majors. With the caliber of player that will be starting each game sitting next to Coach L, the fear of a starter having an off night is quickly muted by an easily adopted “next one off the bench” mentality.
The ‘Canes will be chasing some blue bloods of college basketball as they try to climb up the rankings throughout the season. The AP poll top 5 are the aforementioned Duke Blue Devils, followed by Michigan State, Arizona, Kansas, and Kentucky. It feels good to be in the same conversation as those teams, but for this years team that won’t be enough. With impressive talent at every position, and one of the most exciting backcourts in the entire nation, the top 10 is within reach, but it’s also only the start.
Find both the Preseason AP and Coaches polls below:
AP Poll - Preseason
USA Today Coaches Poll - Preseason
How do you feel about the ‘Canes rankings in the preseason polls? Too low? Just right? How high can they rise? Let us know what you think in the comments.