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Thoughts from Brooklyn After “Out of Sync” Canes Lose to North Carolina

Today’s 78-53 loss to North Carolina in the ACC quarterfinals was a sharp contrast to the effort and result put forth by the Miami Hurricanes men’s basketball team in yesterday’s win over Syracuse.

ACC Basketball Tournament - Quarterfinals Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Whereas yesterday Miami looked crisp, attacking on defense and capitalizing on offense, today they looked tired and out of sorts at times. In yesterday’s win over the Orange, the Canes three upperclassmen led the charge. Today a freshman was the lone standout for Miami.

“I didn't think we were sharp all day. Our defense did not put up much resistance, and our offense was out of sync from the very beginning,” said Miami Coach Jim Larrañaga post game. Despite that Miami was very much in the game thanks in large part to freshman Bruce Brown’s 21 point, 7 rebound performance. Miami finished the first half on a 9-2 run to close a 12 point Carolina lead to 5, with the exclamation point coming off a spectacular steal by Anthony Lawrence with 3 seconds left who then fed Brown for a buzzer-beating dunk.

The second half started off well as the Canes kept UNC to a single-digit lead until about the 17-minute mark when the Tar Heels built the lead back to double digits. Miami would fight back to cut the lead back to 8 and then went on to shoot 1-7 from 3 point land over a 3-minute span. The Canes DJ Vasiljevic was getting wide open shots, he just was ice cold today. Also a contrast to his hot shooting yesterday.

Larrañaga went on to say: “our attention to detail, our focus at the defensive end was impacted by how poorly we were playing offense. You miss shots. You turn it over. You give them some easy baskets. You get frustrated with your offense, then all of a sudden you're thinking about your offense when you should be playing defense.

Despite having figured out how to stop UNC in January, today Miami didn’t have an answer. “There were just so many times they did exactly what we knew they were trying to do. They threw that lob pass a number of times. They didn't get that once against us at our place. Our guys defended it exactly the way we planned to,” Larrañaga continued. “And last night -- and some of it may have to do with not having time to actually practice it on a court. We did it in a ballroom last night at the hotel at 9:00 at night. Not a lot of time to prepare.”

This is why the ACC tournament is so daunting if you’re not a top 4 seed, the quick turnarounds can be brutal. However, for a relatively young team, the experience is vital heading into March Madness.

Up next? Miami finds out this Sunday where it’s heading and against who it’s playing in the big dance.