Consider be me officially done trying to figure out Frank Haith's basketball team -- or the madness known as the Atlantic Coast Conference (Did anybody see Duke's blowout loss to Clemson?)
Tremendous win for Haith and his boys, one I didn't see coming after their worst "effort performance" of the year at Maryland Saturday. I thought this three-game stretch of Wake Forest, Duke and North Carolina, on the heels of a three-game losing streak, were going to be the final nails in UM's coffin. Turns out I was dead wrong.
Miami played phenomenal Wednesday night, scrapping for loose balls, battling for boards and setting screens which left guys like L.D. Williams flattened in the first half. It certainly was an impressive 79-52 blowout of one of the nation's previously-ranked No. 1 teams. But don't mistake it for a sign of something much greater. UM coach Frank Haith said himself his team caught the seventh-ranked Demon Deacons on a bad shooting night.
Whatever Miami did with its zone (something Wake Forest coach Dino Gaudio said his team hadn't seen in awhile) made everyone other than Jeff Teague look confused. Consider this little gem of a stat on exactly how insane the ACC is. Miami plays the worst shooting team in the league and loses Saturday night. Then, the Canes face the league's best in Wake Forest and hold them to season-low 31.7 percent -- including 29 percent in the second half. In other words, these nights don't happen often.
The bigger thing to take away from this game is that this team isn't folding. That defensive presence Haith mentioned Tuesday lacking in the paint showed up wearing double-0 and looking like Jimmy Graham Wednesday. That tough stud off the bench Haith said his team lost after Ray Hicks left, showed up wearing Adrian Thomas' jersey. The lackluster point guard play? It ended at halftime. Like Haith said afterward, however, this kind of effort is the only way his team is going to win.
A coupe of quick notes...
> Jack McClinton's season-high 32 points moved him into ninth place on UM's all-time scoring list and past two names you'll remember -- Johnny Hemsley and Guillermo Diaz. Wake Forest coach Dino Guardio called Jack's performance one of the best he's seen in eight years in the ACC. I don't know about that. It was Jack's season-high, but not even close to being his best performance in his career. He's had six career 30-point games.
> There were more than 20 NBA representatives in attendance for tonight's game -- including Heat President Pat Riley. I've been told the Heat love Jack McClinton's shooting ability. I think tonight's performance certainly helped Jack. Maybe he will get drafted after all.
> The 27-point blowout gave UM it's biggest margin of victory over a ranked team in the school's history and the larget margin of victory in ACC play. It was the 12th win over a Top 10 team, but only the second under coach Frank Haith.
I'll have my Signing Day rewind section for you tomorrow. I got too bogged down today with stories to feed you everything I learned from Randy Shannon's press conference. But I promise to come back strong tomorrow.