The Washington Post
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| ||Anthony Harris is a streaky shooter and if he gets hot he can spark the Hurricanes offense. (AP) |
Thursday, March 10, 2005; Page G3
How They Could Win It All
Miami does not know that it is not supposed to pose a threat in its first season in the ACC. After all, the Hurricanes, who transferred from the Big East, were picked to finish last in the ACC, which is ranked as the country's best basketball conference. Many have found it refreshing this season to watch Frank Haith, Miami's first-year coach, and his players refute expectations and compete for an NCAA tournament berth.
Miami is motivated to earn the automatic berth and beat many of the teams that have been standard-bearers of the ACC. The Hurricanes' three-man back court is the foundation of the team. Sophomore Guillermo Diaz, an athletic guard, has been one of the biggest surprises during conference play.
"He's a unique guard in that he's not a point and he's not a two," Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "He's a player, and a player who plays without fear. He's made as many big shots as anyone in this league."
Robert Hite and Anthony Harris complement Diaz in the back court, creating matchup problems for most schools. The three guards combine for two-thirds of the Hurricanes' offense.
How They Could Lose It All
Miami has made dramatic strides this season for a program that had a difficult time in recent years drawing respectable crowds for its home games. But the Hurricanes are unfamiliar with the intensity level of the ACC tournament. The challenge of winning on consecutive days, likely against some of the best programs in the country, is daunting.
Guillermo Diaz is a superb talent with NBA potential, but he is unaccustomed to the atmosphere of the ACC tournament. One of the reasons the ACC was so heralded in the preseason was because of the number of guards returning from last season. Each has ACC tournament experience.
Miami's big men have learned their roles well. They don't take bad shots or force the offense. They rebound and set screens for the back-court players.
Said Virginia Tech Coach Seth Greenberg: "The unsung heroes are the big guys, [Will] Frisby, [Anthony] King and [Gary] Hamilton. They do all the dirty work.''
But against North Carolina's Sean May, Duke's Shelden Williams or Wake Forest's Eric Williams, the Hurricanes' front court will have more than it can handle.
Anthony Harris might be the most overlooked player in Miami's three-guard attack. The 6-foot-2 sophomore hails from a winning tradition, having led Chicago's Whitney Young High to the Final Four of the state tournament. Last season, Harris averaged only 4.1 minutes per game, registering highs of nine points and one assist. This season, he is averaging 12.5 points and close to 30 minutes.
"Any one of those perimeter guys could drop 30 on you," Virginia Tech Coach Seth Greenberg said. "Anthony Harris, the line he had against Wake Forest is a career line. It's almost mind-boggling."
In Miami's 94-82 loss at Wake Forest on Jan. 29, Harris made 11 of 19 shots en route to a 28-point, nine-assist game. Harris had 18 points at halftime, prompting one of the many bewildered Demon Deacon fans to shout, "Who are these guys?" according to the Miami Herald.
Harris, though, isn't always in a shooting zone. He's shot 1 of 10, 2 of 10 and 2 of 11 (three times) in games this season.
ACC Tournament Section
• After 15 years, the Nation's Capital plays host to country's premier conference tournament.
• John Feinstein: In a glut of tournaments, this one still matters.
• Tournament info and records
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