There will be no dancing for the Hurricanes when the NCAA's basketball version of the prom comes calling on Sunday.
Needing two wins in the ACC Tournament to be considered for The Big Dance, Miami missed its first two layup attempts in yesterday's opening round against Virginia Tech and never recovered en route to a 65-47 beat-down. It was Hurricane's biggest failure since scoring a measly 43 against eventual Final Four-contender Louisville in 2005. Star sharp-shooter Jack McClinton had nearly as many turnovers (7) as points (9), and the unthinkable happened: the hero who carried the 'Canes all season was actually pulled from the game with 4-plus minutes to go.
Looking back at a season of high expectations thwarted by dull play at the wrong times, maybe that's the problem with these Hurricanes: their fortunes have long been set on McClinton's shoulders. Time and time again he turned in stellar performances with mere serviceable help from the rest of the squad. Who was poised to step up in his absence? Second-leading scorer Dwayne Collins never even hit a shot from the field. For the first time in two decades, no Hurricane hit double digits.
A crippling dependence on one struggling player still coping with a recent knee injury is a postseason hopeful's recipe for disaster. But the real shame is that the seniors who have contributed so much to Miami's recent resurgence and brave foray into the NCAA's toughtest basketball conference are going out on such a sour note.
"It's probably the most disappointed I've ever been in my life,'' senior forward Jimmy Graham said. "Not just with my team, but myself, being a senior, being a leader. To know you're a good team, to know you began so highly ranked and to fail so many times is difficult to swallow. We wanted more than this -- a lot more.''
Janie Campbell is a Florida native who believes in the pro-set and ballpark hot dogs. Her work has appeared in irreverent sports sites around the internet.