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Marquette crushes Miami, onto Elite Eight
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On March 28, 2013 @ 10:00 pm In Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Nicole Auerbach, USA TODAY Sports
WASHINGTON — Thursday night, at the site of Miami coach Jim Larranaga’s greatest triumph, one of the best and most improbable stories of the 2012-13 college basketball season completed its final chapter.
Second-seeded Miami fell to No. 3 Marquette 71-61 in the Sweet 16, capping a season in which the Hurricanes seemingly came out of nowhere to win both the Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season and tournament titles in just Larranaga’s second season.
“I think Miami’s the Cinderella story of the NCAA,” Marquette guard Junior Cadougan had said.
That might be a bit of an exaggeration; the Hurricanes, though lacking in basketball tradition, still hail from a major conference and have been among the nation’s best for most of the season.
“It’s amazing, man,” said Marquette’s Vander Blue after the game. “Thinking about everything I’ve been through, my team’s been through. Everybody said this team wasn’t any good. We can celebrate this now, but we gotta win the next one.”
But that season had been very fairytale-esque. A 63-year-old coach had won over South Beach, dancing and shadow-boxing his way into the hearts of players he mostly didn’t recruit. Shane Larkin, a player Larranaga and his staff had originally tried to recruit to George Mason a few years back, was Miami’s first signee and the ACC Player of the Year as a sophomore. A veteran group of players — practically card-carrying members of the AARP, in the context of the one-and-done world — reached the NCAA tournament for the first time in almost all of their careers.
There were blowout wins over Duke and North Carolina. A 14-game winning streak that stretched from New Years to late February. Julian Gamble photo-bombs and rap videos, an undeniably fun, loose team having a heck of a season.
But the clock always strikes 12 on Cinderella, something Florida Gulf Coast will surely learn soon. And for Miami, after a magical season when so much went right, midnight came in the form of a beatdown.
Marquette pounded the Hurricanes from the start, building a double-digit lead less than 13 minutes into the game on a Derrick Wilson 3-pointer … [For more on Marquette crushes cold-shooting Miami, earns Elite Eight ticket, click here.]
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