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Despite loss, Canes can clinch ACC tourney double bye on Wednesday

A win this week against either Boston College or Syracuse would lock up a Top 4 ACC finish for Miami.

NCAA Basketball: Miami-Florida at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

I didn’t see yesterday’s late-game debacle. I guess for that, I can actually thank the abysmal Bally Sports Network instead of cursing them. I live in South Carolina, and so - through its infinite wisdom - the ESPN app has all Bally Sports games blacked out for me, despite living 2 states away from either Miami’s or Virginia’s local markets. Hulu doesn’t carry Bally Sports either. Ergo, if it’s on Bally, I can’t watch it. (***insert angry “figure it out” .gif***)

So, again, I didn’t see the game yesterday, and I don’t have much to offer on it...other than losing 71-70 after holding a 6-point lead with under a minute to go is incredibly inexcusable and reeks of a lack of composure and planning for late game situations. Two missed free throws, including a clang on the front end of a one and one. Two big turnovers, including the following:

That. Stuff. Can’t. Happen.

But...Miami can still reach an important goal this week - claiming a Top 4 spot in the ACC tournament and a double bye into the tourney quarterfinals. Miami could have actually clinched if they held on against the Hokies; they needed a win and a UVA loss to FSU to get it done. FSU helped the Canes by completing a furious comeback in Charlottesville and winning 64-63 on a buzzer-beating three pointer. But Miami snatching defeat out of the jaws of victory postponed that accomplishment for at least a few more days.

Here’s the top of the current ACC standings:

1) Duke 15-3

2) Notre Dame 14-4

3) UNC 13-5

4) Miami 12-6

5) Wake Forest 12-7

6) Virginia 11-8

The best that Virginia, who swept the Canes, can finish is 12-8. Wake can get to 13-7, but Miami holds the head-to-head tiebreaker by virtue of their sweep of the Demon Deacons. As such, Miami winning one more game and getting to conference win #13 will lock up no worse than 4th place in the ACC.

Their first shot is Wednesday night at Boston College. The Eagles just fell 70-60 at home to Clemson and sit at 11-17 overall (6-12). That had better be a game the Canes take seriously and come out hot, as BC is 9-6 at home this season. That said, if you’re truly a tournament team, you win this game handily. If they don’t, they still have another chance to secure the 4 seed by winning Saturday at Syracuse, which seems to be a tougher game on paper.

They should win both of those games if they continue their solid road play, as they’re just better than BC and Syracuse this year. If they do, they have a great chance of catching current 3 seed UNC, who has to go to Duke on Saturday. Getting to 3 and avoiding Duke until the ACC final is...well, not insignificant.

Regardless, Miami has a chance to do something on Wednesday night that not many thought was possible before the season began. Here’s to them getting it done.

Go Canes!