Charlie Moore from Miami is aware that what he is saying is hard to sell. He even adds a “serious” fact to reinforce his point.
Still, the thought that in less than 48 hours, Moore and his Hurricanes teammates have erased from their minds Saturday’s emotional victory over then-No. 2 Duke, a victory that came at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Mike Krzyzewski’s final season, it’s a bit far off. wanted, to say the least.
That victory? In that place? This year?
“You’re actually reminding me now,” Moore said with a smile. “We haven’t mentioned it since Saturday. I mean, of course, I remember, and yes, it was a great victory, but now we are on the next one. We no longer talk about it. “
I have to respect the tunnel vision approach for a team that took just over a month to eclipse their ACC win total from last season (4-15).
Now the Hurricanes (13-3, 5-0) are the talk of the ACC, occupying the top of the league standings before their big showdown with Florida State on Tuesday.
That said, Moore and the Canes don’t feel validated by what they consider late accolades and proverbial attacks. In fact, they are frankly indifferent to your belief.
“We really believe in ourselves,” Miami guard Kameron McGusty said. “We are not concerned with who believes or not that we are real.”
It would be hard to find naysayers after the way they beat you know who on Saturday, bucking Duke’s classic late streak and countering with countless decisive plays down the stretch.
Still, the basketball-sized chip is understandable for a team chosen to finish 12th in the conference in the preseason and remain unranked despite a nine-game winning streak.
“KenPom ranks us as the third luckiest team in the country,” McGusty said with a smile. “This is after we won on Saturday. That’s a lack of respect. It just shows us that we haven’t done anything, and it makes us hungrier. We know what we have and we know what we can do with what we have ”.
Jim Larrañaga certainly does.
Based on his staff, the Hurricanes coach knew his best chance of success this season was to implement a strategy he hadn’t used since 1990 when he was the head coach at Bowling Green.
The five-out offense opens the floor and fights lack of size with speed and speed.
“We looked at our list and saw that we were skinny,” Larrañaga said. “So we designed the offense to accommodate the abilities of the guys that we have. We have older guys who have certain skills that we should be able to take advantage of. “
Larrañaga tasked associate head coach Chris Caputo and assistant coach Bill Courtney with investigating modern variations of the five-out offense. The pair studied NBA teams like the Heat, Rockets, Spurs, and the mighty Division II Nova Southeastern.
If the D-II reference stumped you, then you haven’t been paying attention.
Everyone from Heat coach Erik Spoelstra to Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens called on Sharks coach Jim Crutchfield to tell him how to run their notorious fast offense.
Larrañaga purposely set up an exhibition against Nova Southeastern in October to give his team experience against the frantic pace of the Sharks at both ends of the court.
Miami finally pulled off the 106–95 victory.
“They came in here and caught us from all sides, they ran and shot in a way that they weren’t used to,” Larrañaga said. “I wanted to challenge them to handle the pressure and see how to handle the offense. That really helped us. “
Canes guard Isaiah Wong said the experience against the Sharks opened their eyes to the possibilities this season and planted the seed of a confidence that grows by the day.
“Not just for the win,” Wong said. “Our confidence grows every day in practice. I have never been part of a team that has this level of focus and this level of confidence. We were honestly hoping to win that game at Duke. “
They certainly looked good.
As they have throughout their winning streak, the Canes and their stable of four sixth-year seniors tactically dismantled Duke, using suffocating defensive pressure and active hands to catch 15 steals and force the Blue Devils to lose 17 losses. of the ball, the maximum of the season.
Duke’s bulky guards had attacks by staying in front of lean and fast Miami playmakers, whose backdoor cuts and precision passes frustrated the Blue Devils all night.
“This is what we’ve done all year, it’s just a tough showdown with what we’re putting on the court,” Moore said. “It is a great team, but we showed what we are capable of. Now it’s just about improving and maintaining consistency in the future. “
This is where McGusty, a 24-year-old sixth-year student, hopes the axiom “with age comes wisdom” rings true.
“We take great pride in the fact that we are older and more experienced than most teams,” said McGusty. “It is really a mental force that becomes a physical force for us. I feel like this is what will keep our focus during the ups and downs of the season. We are not talking about that last victory; it’s about what’s in front of us. The only people to whom we care to show things are ourselves, and we do it constantly ”.
More college basketball:
• Miami surprises Duke in the final seconds to win the ninth consecutive game.
• Are we still riding with our preseason conference picks?
• College Basketball Mail Bag: All-Stars, Hot Seats, and Coaching Trees
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.