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The AP Voters Owe Canes Hoops an Apology

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Miami won three games in the NCAA Tournament despite being unranked all season. The AP Voters should apologize to the Miami program for such ignorance.

(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

After an amazing run to the Elite Eight, the Miami Hurricanes men’s basketball team has a lot to be proud of. But what some may have seen as a surprise seemed pretty possible to others. Most fans that watched every game knew this team had this type of potential, but somehow, those that control the ranking system chose to ignore it. The ‘Canes put together an amazing regular season with 22 wins and 9 losses combined with multiple impressive wins. Despite Miami finishing as one of the best eight teams in the country, they went the entire season without being ranked. How is this even possible?

Two Impressive Wins Add to an Amazing Start

After a 4-3 start the season, Miami got hot and rattled off eight straight wins going into a top five matchup. There was no moment greater than when unranked and doubted Miami (12-3) walked into Cameron and played No. 2 Duke (12-1) on January 8. The ‘Canes beat the Blue Devils by two, winning 76-74 in a hard-fought game. I mean, Duke has only lost 12 games at home since 2004-2005 season, so it’s clearly hard to win at Cameron. So, after this game, the rankers were sure to vote Miami in right? Nope. The ‘Canes (12-3), with a win over Duke, stayed unranked.

The massacre on January 18 against North Carolina is my favorite. The ‘Canes didn’t just win against one of the most talented teams in the country, but they demolished them. The ‘Canes beat the National Runner-Up by a large margin 28 points. It could’ve ended even worse, as at one point in time, they were up 32 points.

Guess what the AP voters did after seeing Miami beat Duke and UNC? Nothing. A 14-4 team with wins over Duke and UNC apparently wasn’t good enough to have that number next to its name. Keep in mind, though it happened a while after, these two teams made it to the Final Four.

The Tournament Educated the Media

Then, in the tournament, a hungry Miami team was finally able to show the casuals who they were. They beat three consecutive ranked teams, beating two of them by double digits. USC, Auburn and Iowa State all spent time as ranked teams during the regular season.

USC spent 17 of the 18 polls as a ranked team, reaching as high as No. 5 in the January 10 poll. Miami beat them by two. Auburn was ranked for all 19 polls, including spending three weeks in the No. 1 spot. Miami demolished them by 18. Iowa State spent ten weeks as a ranked team, topping out at No. 8 in an AP poll. Miami controlled the entire game, winning by 14 points.

While Miami did lose to the eventual champions in No. 1 Kansas in the Elite Eight, their first half performance showed everyone what they were capable of. At half-time, the ‘Canes were winning 35-29 and showed that the game was winnable. Foul trouble eventually ended Miami’s hopes in the second half and it broke wide open from there, but hanging with the National Champions like that was very impressive. Regardless of the result, this team should’ve been ranked.

How Was This Even Possible?

It’s one thing to not rank them, yeah they had some losses but so did everyone else. It’s another thing for them to not even be receiving votes. To me, this is a serious issue. What’s the point of playing and winning games if the AP voters won’t respect you? What was the issue, though? Is a team of fifth and sixth year seniors not appealing to them? Results matter. They literally stared at results and said, nah, let’s ignore that.

Well, who did they rank instead of the ‘Canes (22-9) in the final poll? Well, we have multiple first-round exits that were on the wrong end of an upset in No. 20 UConn (3-3 vs. ranked opp.), No. 21 USC (1-3 vs. ranked opp.), No. 23 Colorado State (0-0 vs. ranked opp.) and No. 24 Iowa (1-5 vs. ranked opp.). This is just the first round. Even more ranked teams dropped in the Round of 32.

Going forward, this is an issue that needs to be resolved. The AP voters aren’t getting away with this one. They owe the Canes an apology. I’m just glad they were able to showcase their power during March Madness. This team will go down as one of the best in Miami’s history, but they can never say that they were ranked by the AP.