GREENSBORO — For a No. 1 seed that went 15-3 in the ACC, an unusual amount of questions exist about Miamis postseason viability and how far the Hurricanes will go in the NCAA tournament. The Hurricanes answered none of them with a 69-58 win over Boston College in Fridays first quarterfinal.
The late-season loss at Wake Forest had the distinct feel of a first-weekend upset, and while Larranaga later said he thought his team got a little fat and happy with that 13-0 record in the ACC, the lingering bad taste from that game, and an 2-3 finish in the league with losses at Duke and to Georgia Tech -- at home, with a chance to clinch the regular-season title outright -- left the Hurricanes with more to prove this weekend than the usual No. 1 seed.
The No. 1 seed has lost its quarterfinal only twice -- 1989, when Maryland upset N.C. State, and 1997, when N.C. State upset Duke -- but the top seed is 43-14 (.754) in the semis, so Saturdays matchup with N.C. State or Virginia will be a better litmus test, a hurdle Miami will be expected to clear, but one where many before have fallen.
That isnt to sell Boston College short, because the rapidly improving Eagles had won four straight and Olivier Hanlan was coming off Thursdays freshman-record, 41-point explosion. At one point, Hanlan made 16 straight shots over the two games, both games that saw the Eagles fight back from large early deficits.
Down 15-0 Thursday, Boston College won easily by 20. Down 13-2 Friday, the Eagles led at the half and the score was tied with a little more than three minutes to play before Miami finally put the Eagles away.
Its one thing to do come back like that against Georgia Tech. Its another to do it against the purported best team in the ACC, which says as much about Miami as it does Boston College.