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Checking in on Miami’s NCAA Tournament Projections: February 7

NCAA Basketball: Duke at Miami (FL) Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Good afternoon, folks...

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know the Miami Hurricanes toppled the Duke Blue Devils 81-59 last night at the Watsco Center. Our Mike Schiffman wrote about it here.

With the win, Miami knocked off two teams currently projected in the field of 64 (I’ll still call it that as long as they don’t add more rounds/teams) in just over 48 hours. That’s a heck of a feather in their cap for this week. The Canes now sit at 19-5 and 10-4 in the ACC. If not for the terrible, no-good loss at Georgia Tech (a quad 3 loss), this team would be in wildly-good shape for a top 4 seed.

But they did, and it is what it is. So where do the Canes check in with those paid to write about the NCAA tournament - or the “bracketologists”?

ESPN’s Joe Lunardi updated his bracket this morning and has Miami as......a 6 seed in the West region facing off against the Boise State/Oklahoma State play-in game winner. Well, I would have expected to have seen Miami get a little bit more respect than that, considering Lunardi is the only one who actually updated after Miami beat both Clemson on the road and destroyed Duke at home. Somehow, methinks that if this resume had a blue blood name beside it, we’re looking at no worse than a 4 seed. College basketball is the biggest reputation-based American sport - pro or amateur - so I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised by this. Just disappointed.

ESPN also released its first Bubble Watch, with Miami listed as a “should be in” along with Duke, NC State, UNC, and Pitt (it’s awfully generous of them to list this many teams here, honestly). Regarding Miami, they say:

Miami’s 22-point win at home over Duke was a welcome change of pace after four true road games in 21 days against likely NCAA tournament teams. A four-point win at Clemson was preceded by losses at NC State, Duke, and Pitt by a combined total of seven points. Road tests still remain in the form of upcoming visits to North Carolina and Virginia Tech. Truth be told, there also is a loss to Georgia Tech on this profile. Even so, Miami could plausibly finish at 23-7 while competing for an ACC title and securing a projected 6 seed. An offense powered by Isaiah Wong, Norchad Omier, Jordan Miller, and Nijel Pack is ringing up 1.13 points per possession against the ACC.”

And there it is again. The Georgia Tech loss. A 6 seed. Sigh...

CBS Sports’ Jerry Palm hasn’t updated since Friday, but he did have Miami as a 5 seed facing 12-seed Oral Roberts in the West at that time, so that was a decent spot to have been in before Miami pulled off two quality wins the last few days. He should update soon, and a 4 seed would be a fair result.

Blogging the Bracket’s last bracket was posted on January 31, with Miami as a 6 seed facing the Penn State-Kentucky play-in game winner. BtB HAS, however, posted a bubble watch more recently, with Miami listed as a “Near Lock”. They note that “NC State and Miami will face tricky matchups with ‘lock’ status in the balance. The Hurricanes are likely to have a tough time at Littlejohn, but at least they will have a Big Monday visit from Duke to follow.”

Guess what, y’all. They did, in fact, NOT have a tough time at Littlejohn. Lock that ish up.

Go Canes!