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Let’s Take a Moment to Enjoy Miami’s ACC Regular Season Championship

After the Elite Eight run last year, Canes fans couldn’t have asked for a better 2022-23 college basketball regular season.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: MAR 04 Pitt at Miami Photo by Peter Joneleit/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Miami Hurricanes Men’s Basketball squad are 2022-23 ACC Regular Season champs. I will never get tired of typing that sentence. It’s their first ACC title in ten years. This season also happens to be my first season leading the basketball coverage for Coincidence?! Who knows?!

It was both an honor and a ton of fun keeping up with the Canes on the court this season. This team was picked to finish fourth in the ACC by ESPN back in October of last year. That is some solid respect for a team that did finish fourth last season; however, that squad had three seniors leading the way. For Miami to exceed those expectations with some new core players and end the regular season atop the conference standings is something to be proud of for everyone involved with the Miami Hurricanes Basketball program.

Maybe I’m just getting old and more romantic about sports, but I truly believe Saturday night’s win meant a lot for Miami Hurricanes Men’s Basketball (and I’m not even thinking about the recruiting impact; let’s stay in the present). Conference championships are a big deal in college basketball. Winning the ACC in basketball is one of the toughest things to do in college sports. Having to top old powerhouses UNC and Duke, along with new powerhouses like Virginia, is no easy task. The 2022-23 Miami Hurricanes beat all three of those teams this season en route to a conference championship. That’s freaking awesome. In today’s ‘ring or bust’ culture, it’s nice to see so many people so excited for a regular season team accomplishment.

Below are some random thoughts from this year. An ACC championship year!

Pittsburgh v Miami
As a Canes basketball fan, I wouldn’t want any other coach.
Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images

Transfers and Camaraderie

The Canes did not lose a player to the transfer portal this past offseason. They brought in two: Norchad Omier and Nijel Pack. Pack was the bigger name, and he’s had his moments this season. Omier was a true difference-maker though. I would be surprised if he didn’t receive some top-3 votes for ACC Player of the Year. Obviously, Coach L and his staff deserve a ton of credit for getting these newcomers acclimated with their established teammates.

Building off of that point, this team is easy to root for. The guys are invested in each other and the program. There isn’t a single prima donna on the roster. There isn’t a troublemaker or guy you have to be worried about screwing up at some point in the season. These guys love to be around each other. Pack and Omier have fit in seamlessly. Coach L has said the same after games. You can see it when you watch them on TV. I love it. Nijel Pack was a big-time recruit who is making some nice NIL money. Yet, when he made that put-back dunk at home vs Duke, the bench went crazy. That shows the love these guys have for each other. It doesn’t exclude anyone on the team.

The Watsco Center

I wrote about how great the Canes’ home crowd was this season in my game recap of Miami’s win over Duke. Coach L has mentioned the energy of the home crowd in several of his postgame press conferences. That energy and noise they bring is extremely noticeable on TV as well. Aside from the Duke matchup, there were also extra-special home crowds for Virginia early in the season, then FSU and Pitt to finish the season. For the first time in my life as a Canes basketball fan, my team has a legit home court advantage.

Most satisfying wins

11/19 vs Providence (Hall of Fame Tip-Off) - Coach L got his 700th win as a coach with this victory. Too bad they couldn’t follow it up with a better performance against Maryland the next day. Damnit! I’m trying to stay positive! My game recap.

11/27 @ UCF - This victory avenged last season’s six-point home loss to the Knights of Orlando. If Isaiah Wong doesn’t hit a half-court runner to beat the first-half buzzer, this might be a bad loss on the Canes’ resume. My game recap.

12/20 vs Virginia - Love this win. Miami showed they could not only play with, but beat the best teams in the ACC. They should’ve won this game by more than two points. My game recap.

2/4 @ Clemson - The Canes came to play in early February, especially in the second half. The Tigers’ crowd did not effect Miami’s shot-makers. It was a nice Saturday win. My game recap.

2/13 @ UNC - This seemed like a trap game to me. Just like VT a week later, this UNC team was desperate for a home win against an AP Top 25-ranked team like Miami. It was another impressive and methodical second-half performance that sealed the win in Chapel Hill, NC. My game recap.

2/21 @ VT - The Hokies have talent, they always play Miami tough, and they were looking to avenge their loss at Watsco three weeks prior. Combine those factors with being a desperate team needing a big win against a team like the Canes to keep their slim NCAA Tournament chances alive this season, and I was feeling nervous on a Tuesday evening. Silly me, Miami controlled the second half en route to a six-point win. My game recap.

3/4 vs Pitt - An obvious choice. This game provided the Canes payback for their road loss back in late January and clinched the 2022-23 ACC Regular Season Championship for them. Enough said. My game recap.

Highlight plays and performances

The Canes had a ton of big-time plays and moments this season:

From Wooga Poplar’s thunderous dunks,

to Norchad Omier’s HUGE rejections, leading to Wooga Poplar’s thunderous dunks,

to Nijel Pack going unconscious for five minutes against Virginia Tech at home,

to Isaiah Wong putting up 36 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists against Cornell,

to dominating Duke from start to finish in front of a crazed Watsco Center crowd.

There were plenty of great memories made during the 2022-23 college basketball season for the Miami Hurricanes and their fans. Let’s try to remember them for as long as we can.