- The Washington Times - Friday, March 14, 2008

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — There should not have been much doubt about Miami’s NCAA tournament credentials entering the ACC tournament.

Yesterday’s 63-50 victory over N.C. State likely erased any lingering questions.

The fifth-seeded Hurricanes (22-9) held the Wolfpack to 34 percent shooting — including 2-for-15 shooting beyond the 3-point line — to advance to today’s quarterfinals against Virginia Tech.

“Defensively, we were outstanding. I thought we did a great job,” coach Frank Haith said. “I thought our execution in terms of close-outs was good. We wanted to take away the 3-point line, but we also wanted to disallow them great post position.”

Much of that was because of forward Jimmy Graham’s interior play. The Hurricanes also controlled the game despite a quiet day from All-ACC guard Jack McClinton (eight points).

McClinton probably will be needed later in the tournament, though the Hurricanes should not be desperate for victories. But don’t tell them that.

“You never know what the committee is thinking,” McClinton said. “I think if we keep winning here, we’ll be fine.”

Seminoles’ moving target

When Florida State guards Jason Rich and Ralph Mims were asked whether they believed the Seminoles needed to win the ACC tournament to earn a spot in the 65-team NCAA field, coach Leonard Hamilton couldn’t help himself.

“Let me answer that,” Hamilton said, grinning.

An outspoken proponent of tournament expansion whose team was just left out of the field the last two years, Hamilton was more than prepared to reply after the ninth-seeded Seminoles (19-13) dispatched eighth-seeded Wake Forest 70-60 in the opening game.

“You try coming up with a theory where you understand all the criteria the selection committee uses — and they’ve changed it like three or four times over the last two or three years,” Hamilton said. “That can get in your head. We can’t worry about any of those scenarios.”

They could quickly melt away, anyway, since the Seminoles meet top-seeded North Carolina in today’s first quarterfinal.

Making Skip proud

Wake Forest (17-13) was the first team bounced from the tournament, and it is left to hope for an invitation to the NIT on Sunday.

The end of the Demon Deacons’ emotional season — one that probably exceeded expectations in the wake of former coach Skip Prosser’s death after a massive heart attack in July — evoked some memories of what he would have thought of this team.

“I think he’d be very proud of these guys,” said Wake Forest coach Dino Gaudio, a longtime Prosser assistant. “As young a team as we have and as hard as they play, it’s not all defined on just wins and losses.”

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