The Miami Hurricanes notched a number of firsts and historic milestones this basketball season.
Never before had a Hurricanes team been ranked as high as No. 2 in the country; never before had this basketball program won 14 games in a row, beat North Carolina three times in season or won the ACC Tournament.
The 2012-13 basketball season was a Cinderella story that missed out on its magical ending after the Hurricanes lost to Marquette on Thursday 71-61 in the Sweet 16.
Miami’s loss is a story that’s been told time and time again in the NCAA Basketball Tournament. Not only did the Hurricanes run into the wrong team at the wrong time, an extremely hot Marquette team, but their guard play, the absolute strength for the Hurricanes all season fizzled.
The Hurricanes scored just 16 points in the first half and guards Durand Scott, Shane Larkin and Trey McKinney Jones were visibly off and offered up arguably their worst showing of the year.
Scott and Jones went 6-for-23 from the floor (26.1 percent) while Larkin was 4-for-8 as the trio shot 32.2 percent on the night. The first half was the team’s Achilles’ heel.
Miami went 1-for-11 from beyond the three-point line in the first half and the team shot just 20.7 percent as a whole. A comeback bid in the second half brought Miami’s final percentage up to 34.9 percent as a team, but the first half put the Hurricanes in too deep a hole.
Speaking of deep holes to dig out of, Miami’s loss to Marquette is even more disappointing when you consider this season was head coach Jim Larranaga’s big shot at greatness.
Four of Miami’s five starters were seniors this year. Scott, McKinney Jones, Kenny Kadji and Julian Gamble have played their last games as Hurricanes and Larkin, who’s just a sophomore, has a decision to make.
Larkin is eligible to leave school and enter the NBA Draft. During the season Larkin commented frequently about returning to Miami for his junior season. But then Larkin exploded during the ACC Tournament and on MVP honors.
Now Larkin has just tasted disappointment in the NCAA Tournament and has to know that he’s going to be the sole starter returning to a Miami team that’s going to have to rebuild in 2013-14.
Why would Larkin want to go through that?
Many draft sites have Larkin as a top 30 player but not a lottery pick. It’s likely his 5-foot-11-inch frame that’s keeping him from being a top 10 choice. With the skills to grow in the NBA, why not take the money and grow in the pros while earning a paycheck?
Larkin has until April 28 to decide if he wants to enter the NBA Draft.