Miami suffers embarrassing loss and significant injury against UNC

The 96-71 loss Miami suffered to North Carolina Saturday, that seemed humbling enough. But what hurt more was seeing Ja’Quan Newton on the floor, writhing in pain.

For now it sounds like a bone bruise. Anything more and the chances of the Hurricanes making a deep run in the NCAA Tournament suffered a big bump.

Newton is one of the country’s best, if not the best, sixth man. He immediately re-energizes the offense when he enters. He often plays in the final minutes. His absence leaves Miami vulnerable. It showed just a game earlier. Without Newton (medical condition) and then Sheldon McClellan (foul trouble), the Hurricanes’ offense turned stagnate in the first half against Virginia Tech. If something similar happens Monday night against Virginia, Miami will have a hard time reaching the mid teens in the first half. How Miami does against the Cavaliers will be a good litmus test.

Miami coach Jim Larranaga said before North Carolina this was one game. He’s right. But the key will be how the Hurricanes react.
North Carolina responded from its home loss to Duke. The Tar Heels turned Saturday’s game into a dunk and layup line and Miami contributed by unraveling and committing one uncharacteristic turnover after another.

The 96-71 victory wasn’t that close. North Carolina led as much as by 36 and at times looked like it would double its foe. “This is what we thought we’d see all year,” CBS analyst Bill Raftery said about the preseason No. 1 team in the country. “Carolina is combat ready.
They play like this, they can win it all.”

So how will Miami respond in playing a team it lost to earlier in the season? They need to realize that just about every top team in the country this season has been drilled. Sometimes twice. Kansas lost by 13 to Iowa State and 11 to West Virginia; Villanova lost by 23 to Oklahoma and 11 to Virginia; Oklahoma lost by 11 at home to Texas; Xavier lost by 31 to Villanova; Maryland lost by 13 at home to Wisconsin; Duke lost by 11 to Kentucky and Miami; Kentucky lost by 18 to LSU; Michigan State lost by 13 and 17 to Iowa.

It happens, particularly in this hard-to-predict season. Newton got up from his injury. He hobbled but made it to the locker room.
The question is, can the Hurricanes get back up after getting knocked down on their keisters?