It didn’t take long for the NCAA selection committee chairman to be asked why the University of Miami didn’t receive a No. 1 seed in this year’s tournament.
“We only had four No. 1 spots,” chairman Mike Bobinski said during the selection show broadcast. “If we had five, Miami would have been No. 5.”
That might offer some consolation to Hurricanes fans, many of whom likely believe UM should be a No. 1 seed instead of being No. 2 in the East Region.
But you know what? No. 1 seed or No. 2 seed, it really doesn’t matter.
OK sure, especially for a program that hasn’t reached such hoop heights before, earning a top seed in the NCAA tournament would have been a nice cherry on top of an otherwise delicious Sunday.
What’s most important is that the Miami Hurricanes’ magical season continues, and there’s no reason to think it can’t extend all the way to the Final Four in Atlanta.
Miami overcame a late-season slump to achieve two things nobody can take away, two things not left open to subjectivity: The 2012 Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season championship outright and the ACC postseason tournament.
The school’s only previous basketball championship was a Big East regular-season crown shared with Syracuse in 2000.
Miami became the first ACC school since 1974 outside of the state of North Carolina to win the conference regular-season title outright and the postseason tournament in the same season.
UM also became the first team to beat traditional ACC powers Duke and North Carolina by 20-plus points in the same season since Maryland in 1974-75, and the first team to beat Duke and UNC by 25-plus points since the start of ACC play in 1953.
Tremendous accomplishments, indeed.
Once the Hurricanes walked off the Greensboro Coliseum court after beating North Carolina in the ACC championship game, many fans and media members turned their attention to whether Miami would get a No. 1 seed. But that was a little silly.
Even if Miami had gotten a No. 1 seed, it’s more crucial how the ‘Canes perform in the next few weeks. Few people remember past No. 1 seeds. Sweet 16s, Elite Eights and Final Fours are stamped in memory.
A national championship? There’s no reason that can’t be a realistic goal for a team with talented guards Shane Larkin and Durand Scott and an all-around attack, though it’s really not worth discussing unless Miami reaches the regional final. A tournament often filled with surprises appears even more unpredictable this year.
The Hurricanes will begin play Friday against 15th-seeded Pacific in Austin, Texas. A victory would bring on the winner of No. 7 Illinois and No. 10 Colorado.
Before departing Greensboro for Coral Gables, Miami coach Jim Larranaga said his team needed to decompress a bit.
“What we really need right now is a little bit of rest,” the ACC Coach of the Year said after the NCAA tournament bracket had been announced. “We went through a grueling three-day tournament. And now we’re going to begin another tournament, and one of the things you have to do is sharpen your saw.”
By sharpening the saw, Larranaga was referring to the book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” written by Stephen R. Covey.
In discussing the seventh habit, the book cites two lumberjacks in a competition. The loser sawed all day, never stopping. The winner periodically stopped to rest and sharpen his saw. The lesson?
“You become a little more efficient when you’re well-rested,” Larranaga said.
That’s easier said than done. Besides returning to Miami on Sunday night, the team will travel to Austin on Wednesday.
The Miami coaching staff also planned to travel to New York to pay respects to the late Jack Curran, Larranaga’s high school coach and father figure who died last week.
Somewhere in the next few days, the coaches also must prepare for Pacific.
“We actually have to turn the page and kind of put (the ACC) tournament behind us,” Larranaga said. “We’re not playing teams that we’re familiar with. We’ve got to get re-acclimated to preparing for an opponent we haven’t seen, like it’s back in non-conference play. That’s very challenging.”