Miami basketball listed as eight seed in latest ESPN bracketology

MIAMI, FLORIDA - NOVEMBER 05: (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - NOVEMBER 05: (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The 2020-21 Miami basketball season (if it occurs) still sits over three months away. That being said, it’s never too early to make or look at projections.

Long-time ESPN college basketball analyst Joe Lunardi released his first (of surely many) bracketology projections for the 2021 NCAA Tournament and has the Miami basketball team entering the field of 68 as an eight seed.

The projection includes eight different teams from the ACC in the big dance. Virginia (one seed), Duke (two seed), North Carolina (five-seed), Louisville (six-seed), Syracuse (11 seed), along with Virginia Tech and Clemson as two of the Last Four In.

If that number holds, it would be a leg up from how the conference looked at the conclusion of the 2019-20 season, when Lunardi only projected five ACC teams into his hypothetical bracket. The Miami basketball program was last in the NCAA tournament in 2018.

Lonnie Walker and Bruce Brown led the 2017-18 Hurricanes to 22 wins and a six seed in the tourney. Unfortunately, the Miami basketball team was on the wrong side of the Loyola-Chicago Final Four Cinderella story and couldn’t survive past the opening game.

The 2020-21 Hurricanes team is easily Miami’s best team since that squad and has the potential to be even better. The talent infusion of Earl Timberlake adds an elite and dynamic offensive playmaker. But to make noise in conference play and in March, it takes the right mix of talent to go with experience.

Who better to lead Miami than senior Chris Lykes, who led the team in scoring the past two seasons, and has three years under his belt with head coach Jim Larranaga. The additions of freshmen Earl Timberlake and Matt Cross could lighten the scoring burden and allow Lykes to become more efficient on both ends of the floor.

The same could be said about fellow senior guard Kameron McGusty. It’ll only be the second season with the Miami basketball program for the Oklahoma transfer, but in his first year, McGusty averaged 12.5 points per game on an offense very reliant on Lykes and himself.

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The Miami basketball program has had a difficult past two seasons, struggling in and out of conference play to sub-500 overall records. But after adding some much-needed pieces in the offseason, it’s easy to see why the Hurricanes are garnering national attention to bounce back this season.