UM men crack Top 25
CORAL GABLES — For the first time this season, the Hurricanes men’s basketball team is ranked.
Fresh off their upset wins over Virginia and Duke— both of which are ranked— the Hurricanes debuted in the APT op 25 at No. 25 on Monday afternoon. Miami was set to take on Virginia Tech in Blacksburg on Monday night.
The ranking marks the first time Miami has appeared in the AP poll since finishing the 2015-16 season ranked No. 10 in the nation after a run to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.
This year, the Hurricanes have been a team in transition, adjusting to the losses of last year’s leading scorers Sheldon McClellan and Angel Rodriguez.
And while Miami has been consistently been receiving votes in both the AP and coaches polls, the Hurricanes haven’t been able to crack through— until now.
The Hurricanes started last week with a 54-48 overtime win over then-No. 18 Virginia in Charlottesville. In that game, Miami battled back from a nine-point, second-half deficit to force overtime. There, freshman Bruce Brown connected on the eventual game-winning 3-pointer with 19 seconds left to help Miami clinch its second win of the season over a Top 25 team.
The third came days later when the Hurricanes (20-8, 10-6) upset Duke, and again, Brown was a key contributor.
The freshman had a game-high 25 points to lift Miami to a 55-50 win over the then tenth-ranked Blue Devils at the Watsco
Center on Saturday afternoon.
For his efforts, Brown was named the ACC Freshman of the Week on Monday.
It is the second time Brown, a guard, has earned the honor. He was previously recognized in December after averaging 11.5 in Miami’s wins over Rutgers andWofford.
Entering the final week of the regular season, the Hurricanes— whohave just nine scholarship players on the roster and regularly have three freshmen on the floor — have won eight of their last 10 in the Atlantic Coast Conference and are playing some of their best basketball of the season.
“We knew the talent we had and we knew we were destined to open it up a little bit for ourselves,” said senior Davon Reed after Saturday’s win.“We just had to find our rhythm. The talent was always there, we were just a young team trying to find ourselves. The biggest thing we can rely on is our defense and it’s been tough for teams to score. With that, we can play with anybody in any game.”
Miami, which likely clinched a second-straight NCAA Tournament berth with last week’s victories, will now finish the regular season on the road, facing theHokies (20-8, 9-7) Monday and 15th-ranked rival Florida State (23-6, 11-5) in Tallahassee on Saturday.
LaterMonday afternoon, the AP released itswomen’s basketball Top 25, and the UM women, who wrapped up the regular season with a 75-70 win over Georgia Tech on Sunday, rose a spot toNo. 16 in the poll.
The Hurricanes became one of eight schools nationally to have both their men’s andwomen’s programs ranked in the AP’s poll.
Five of those schools — Louisville, Florida State, Duke, Notre Dame and Miami— are all in the ACC.