Miami Sadness: Hurricanes fall to UConn in Final Four semifinals of NCAA Tournament
Published in Basketball
HOUSTON — The buzz around the University of Miami team hotel was palpable for days leading up to the Hurricanes’ Final Four game against Connecticut late Saturday night.
Thousands of fans and former players spanning all the eras, milled around the lobby, marveling at how a program that didn’t even exist in the mid-’80s and then held open tryouts for its resurrected team on the student union patio, could find itself two wins from a national title.
But there they were, in the 72,000-seat NRG Stadium, hoping to keep their magical ride going in front of the largest and most boisterous UM basketball crowd in history.
The Huskies proved too much for the Hurricanes. The four-time national champions, playing in their sixth Final Four, looked like a team that had been there before and overwhelmed Miami, 72-59, to advance to Monday’s championship game.
Miami gave fans a glimmer of hope by closing the deficit to eight points late in the game, but missed its final seven shots and scored no field goals in the final six minutes.
UConn had beaten its previous four NCAA Tournament opponents by an average margin of 22.5 points, and the Huskies displayed their dominance again.
Miami’s exit was the second South Florida heartbreak of the night.
When the Hurricanes took the court for warmups before the night’s second semifinal, their neighbors from 50 miles up the road, the Florida Atlantic Owls, were trudging to the tunnel in disbelief after their fairy tale March run ended with a San Diego State buzzer-beater.
Miami’s loss was not as dramatic.
The Hurricanes had made a name for themselves with their high-octane offense, which averaged 80 points per game this season. They poured in 85 points against Indiana, 89 against top-seeded Houston and 88 against second-seeded Texas in their previous three NCAA Tournament games.
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