I wasn't in Charlottesville for tonight's must-win game for the Canes, but I did catch UM's 62-55 win over Virginia at home and wanted to share a few observations...
> Before we get to the highlights, here's what Thursday's win means: Miami's NCAA Tournament hopes are still alive. UM has now improved to 6-8 in ACC play and moved up one spot in the conference standings after N.C. State fell to 5-8 with a loss to Wake Forest Thursday. What the Canes would love to do by the end of the season (at the very least) is move into eighth place in the ACC standings. Maryland is the next team ahead of UM, a half-game in front with a 6-7 record. The Terps have N.C. State, Wake Forest and Virginia left on the schedule.
> Thursday night's performance for Jack McClinton wasn't spectacular. But it was still special. The Cavaliers ripped the defensive playbook from Florida State and played McClinton face-up the entire night, denying him any breathing room when he got the ball. But when the going got tough, Jack still did what he had to do to put Miami over the top. People will point to his three-pointer with 46 seconds left, which put UM up 60-55. But his steal on Virginia's possession right before it was an ever bigger play. Most people weren't aware of this, but apparently McClinton was playing with a brace on a recently sprained left knee. He didn't practice all week because of it. McClinton's final stat line says he finished with 11 points on 3-of-10 shooting to go with three turnovers. But he still was the reason UM was able to come away with a good road win.
> While Dwayne Collins has disappeared down the stretch this season (he had 6 points and 4 rebounds in 18 minutes Thursday), senior Brian Asbury deserves a lot of credit for stepping his game up and being the second leader UM has needed. In my opinion, AB has been the second-best player on the court in ACC play for UM night in and night out. He led the Canes with 13 points Thursday and had four rebounds to go with two assists. His numbers aren't eye-opening, but he does all the little things UM has needed from him to win these close game. His offensive rebound and put-back with 2:41 left gave UM a 57-55 lead. He made plenty more big plays before that, too.
> The Canes have two games left and a nice little break before their next game -- at Georgia Tech on Wednesday. That's a nice six day break for McClinton, who obviously could use more time to get over that sprained knee.