Coach Jim Larranaga taking a team into the NCAA Tournament means at least one thing: We just know his players will be prepared, whether he’s at the helm of, say, George Mason — or the Miami Hurricanes.
When Freshman Bruce Brown stormed down the court for a ferocious one-handed jam, giving the Hurricanes a 17-5 lead in the first few minutes of gameplay against the Michigan State Spartans, one thing was clear: ‘Canes were not going to show up to the Big Dance surprised, but instead, they’d be ready.
A Welcome-to-March-Madness moment for the shooting guard, Brown, his first of the kind, proved not too much to handle for the 20-year-old.
But, suddenly, a 17-5 Miami advantage became a 21-21 tie game, and then ... a 33-23 Spartan lead. MSU had Miami right where they wanted them, bounding-and-astouning while Miami began stumbling-and-bumbling.
Kamari Murphy began taking much too many jump shots for his own good, Bruce Brown threes were hitting the front of the rim and Ebuka Izunda — for who knows what reason — began lofting lefty hook shots at the rim, to no avail.
After the first twenty minutes, the ‘Canes trailed by 11. Indeed, this was no bueno. The next twenty were not much better. In fact, they were worse, as MSU stretched its lead to as much as 23 points.
This ‘contest’ got out of hand in the blink of an eye. After the aforementioned 17-5 lead, Miami would go on to be outscored 48-18 until just 13 minutes remained in the ‘Canes Hoops season. And, you know what? That’s just fine.
It may not have been the ideal way to go out, but the reality is:
Michigan State was a Top 15 team that underperformed.— Hardwood Hurricanes (@HardwoodU) March 18, 2017
Miami was a rebuilding 8-10 ACC team that (over)performed.
Major shoutouts are in order for our beloved seniors, Davon Reed and Kamari Murphy, whom we we all sorely miss. Man, I miss deep R33D 3s and his incessant leadership already, and it hasn’t even been a 24 hours since his career in the green-and-orange came to a close.
And finally, have no fear, my friends. For next year, we will not only be back, but we will be better than ever. With Lonnie Walker, Chris Lykes, Deng Gak and **hopefully** Bruce Brown in tow, the 2017-2018 Hurricanes will be formidable. They will be a force. A lock for the Big Dance and hopefully much more.
I’m not sure what the future holds for the mercurial semi-point guard Ja’Quan Newton, a rising Senior whose collegiate career almost certainly ends with him maintaining a spot on Coach L’s bench next season, that is, if he chooses to remain a ‘Cane.
Until then, we’ll have some fun features and analysis for y’all throughout the offseason. It’s been real and it’s only getting realer.
Much Love. Go Canes.