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Miami's Loss Hard to Grasp

Miami forward Jimmy Graham sat at his locker stall holding a personal pan pizza with both hands. He stared at the closed box for a few moments before noticing the small group of reporters who had assembled around him. The reporters wanted to know what had just happened, how the Hurricanes could have been outplayed so badly with their NCAA tournament hopes on the line.

So did Graham.

By virtue of its 65-47 loss to Virginia Tech in the opening game of the ACC tournament's first round, Miami likely eliminated itself from any further discussion of an NCAA tournament bid.

"I've got to see it to see what happened," Graham said. "I still haven't really grasped it yet."

From a statistical standpoint, MIami shot 34.6 percent from the field and 26.1 percent from three-point range. Sharpshooter Jack McClinton was held to nine points on 4-of-11 shooting. The Hurricanes' 15 turnovers also didn't help their cause.

"We were just missing a lot of stuff that we usually cash," Graham said. "We had a lot of open looks."

A few minutes earlier, Miami Coach Frank Haith sat at a dais at a sparsely attended press conference and pondered the game he had just witnessed. A win would have given Miami (18-12) a much-needed push toward an NCAA berth. Instead, the Hurricanes' hopes now have evaporated completely.

"We turned the ball over two straight times and didn't get a couple stops. I know they got an offensive rebound and tip-in and then a dunk right after it," Haith said of Virginia Tech's 14-0 second-half run. "I can't tell you where our team went in regards to that or the bubble talk and all that stuff. I would hope we didn't let that get to us, but we just didn't have it today."

When relayed Haith's thoughts, Graham briefly paused.

"I think [the NCAA tournament bubble talk] should play a role in a positive way," he said. "We knew this was a big game, an important game, how much it meant to us. We just came out a little tight."

And left a little sullen.

By Steve Yanda  |  March 12, 2009; 2:34 PM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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