Found March 02, 2013 on Fox Sports Carolinas:
DURHAM, NC -- Miami didn't beat Duke in Saturday's epic rematch, but the Hurricanes proved they are the best team in the ACC and are a legit threat to win the national championship. Miami is better not because of the margin differential in the team's two games against each other -- which is plus-24 for the Hurricanes -- nor are they better because they have a two-game lead in the ACC standings with a week to go in the regular season. And the No. 5 Hurricanes (23-5, 14-2 ACC) aren't better because they have 10 true road wins while Duke has only four. They are better because of all of those reasons and their low point since Christmas only flared up once in a 15-point loss at Wake Forest a week ago. Otherwise, Miami has been pretty darn good almost every time it' stepped onto the court. In addition to the pummeling at Miami, Duke has been down double-digits late in losses at N.C. State and Virginia. Now, to be fair, third-ranked Duke (25-4, 12-4) didn't have Ryan Kelly for any of those games, and his return -- a 36-point performance Saturday -- lends credence to those who believe the Blue Devils are the superior team. They are certainly a healthy notch better with Kelly than without him. Perhaps the narrative here will change in the next week or two, but what won't is that along with Duke, Miami is a legitimate threat to win the national championship. So many national pundits dismissed the Hurricanes' chances coming into Cameron Indoor Stadium. Some called for a Duke rout right out of the gate. Others said the Canes didn't belong, were overrated flukes whose bubble burst last week in Winston-Salem, and slapping the floor in Coral Gables in the first meeting meant their certain demise on this night. You just don't diss Duke like that without repercussion. Duke slapped the floor in return Saturday, but that was when it went up by 10 points with 1:55 remaining in the contest. But instead of wilting as so many of Duke's victims have over the years in this sweltering old building, the Hurricanes struck back with an 11-4 spurt to close to within the final margin. But missed 3-pointers by Shane Larkin and Rion Brown fell off the rim, the final one as the clock reached zero. "I thought our guys did a good job," Miami coach Jim Larranaga said. "We played well. We had a two-point lead at the half... One more shot could have made that last possession." Miami was that close to beating Duke in its frenzied and historic home, and on a night when one of the Blue Devils' key players returned after missing 13 games by scoring 36 points -- an ACC-high for this season -- only further illustrates the level the Canes performed. "They're such a good basketball team," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "Larkin is a great player, the best guard by far in the league. He's magical out there. He has such poise, and (Kenny) Kadji... these guys are just so talented. You can see why they're leading our conference and having the spectacular year they are having." Never mind some of the stats that don't look so pretty. Seven assists on 28 field goals generally isn't acceptable, but Duke's overplaying forces teams to use the dribble, and Miami continued taking the ball to the rim, especially in the first half. Assists rarely accompany runners, floaters, pull-up jumpers and drives to the basket. But do regard that Miami outrebounded Duke 40-27 and had just 10 turnovers against the Devils' dog-in-heat defense. Miami has proven it can handle any situation. The Hurricanes can win up-tempo games, slow grinders, by dominating inside, by using their perimeter to close out teams. They have blown out quality foes (they also beat North Carolina by 26) and win on the road in nail biters. Its coach, Jim Larranaga, is the only ACC head man not named Krzyzewski or Roy Williams to guide a team to the Final Four -- he led George Mason there in 2006 -- and he is likely headed to a National Coach of the Year honor this season. Miami has it all, and even in defeat Saturday, the Hurricanes proved it once again.

Duke's Ryan Kelly playing vs. Miami

Duke forward Ryan Kelly was in the starting lineup on Saturday night as the third-ranked Blue Devils faced No. 5 Miami. The 6-foot-11 senior missed the past 13 games with a foot injury. He is averaging 13 points and five rebounds. Duke spokesman Jon Jackson said before the game that Kelly was set to play against the Hurricanes though it was not known whether he would start. Kelly...

Predicting NCAA Basketball Conference Tournament Winners

Ryan Kelly might only have been back for one game, and Duke might only have earned one win on the night, but their recent victory against the Miami Hurricanes proved that the Blue Devils still have what it takes to be a legitimate NCAA title contender. [Continue Reading] So Duke looks poised to make a run in the ACC Tournament and lock down an NCAA number one seed…. or do they...

Kenny Kadji puts Duke’s Ryan Kelly on a poster with huge dunk

Ryan Kelly, meet Kenny Kadji. The Canes forward put the Blue Devils forward on a poster during Saturday night's heavy-weight, ACC showdown.

Kelly's return sparks Duke vs. Miami

Duke's Ryan Kelly sure didn't look like a guy who hadn't played in two months. The senior scored a career-high 36 points in his return from a foot injury that had sidelined him since January, helping third-ranked Duke beat fifth-ranked Miami 79-76 on Saturday night. Kelly knocked down 10 of 14 shots -- including 7 of 9 3-pointers -- for the Blue Devils (25-4, 12-4 Atlantic...

Kelly lifts No. 3 Duke past No. 5 Miami 79-76

Shane Larkin and fifth-ranked Miami stayed shot for shot with third-ranked Duke on its famously hostile home court for most of Saturday night. The Hurricanes just didn't execute well enough in the final minutes to earn a second straight win at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Larkin had a costly turnover and later missed one of Miami's desperate pair of 3-pointers for the tie on...

ACC Morning Linkfest 3/4

If there is one thing that the ACC has been consistent about, its extreme unpredictability (or is it predictability?).  A game after Virginia completely dominates Duke in Charlottesville, they go to Boston College and give away the game late.  Sounds familiar, right?  NC State did it after a big win over Duke.  Maryland did it after a big win over Duke.  Wake Forest did it... Power 25 3/4

Let's take a look at the top teams in the nation using the Power 25 rankings. Check back every Monday for updated rankings. Duke dropped to #8 at the end of last week, but the return of Ryan Kelly and the following win over Miami moved the Blue Devils back up to #6.  Miami beat Virginia Tech and then lost to Duke and their slide down the polls now moves them out...

ACC Morning Linkfest 3/2 with Game Sim Predictions

Three ACC games on the slate today, but the big one is Duke hosting Miami.  The Blue Devils have likely had this one circled since they went to Miami and were taken to the woodshed.  There is some talk that Ryan Kelly will play tonight for Duke, which only parallels Reggie Johnson's return when the two teams playing in Coral Gables.  Game Sim likes the Blue Devils to win...

ACC Bubble Analysis for 3/4

Less than 2 weeks… less than 2 weeks is all you have to position yourselves for the NCAA tournament. Let’s check out where I have the ACC teams at the moment. In my ranking system, any RPI win top (100) win is a good win and any RPI top (50) obviously worth more. Any losses outside the RPI top (100) is considered a bad loss, and outside the RPI (150) are even more damaging...

Duke-Miami: Has to be More than Revenge

There has been so much made over the last month and a half about Duke trying to seek some level of revenge against Miami when the two teams meet on Saturday. Miami comes into Durham confident while the Blue Devils appear unsure of themselves. Whether it is the fact that Duke lost by 27 points, the fact that the Hurricanes mockingly slapped the floor something that started at...
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