The men’s college basketball NCAA Tournament has been around since 1939, and not once have the Miami Hurricanes been in the Final Four.
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With an 88-81 come-from-behind victory against Texas on Sunday, the No. 5-seeded Hurricanes achieved the Final Four trip that had so long eluded the program.
DID IT FOUR MIAMI. pic.twitter.com/VWTnjUyOCF
— Canes Men’s Basketball (@CanesHoops) March 26, 2023
Miami trailed by eight points at halftime and by as many as 13 points with 13:30 remaining. Yet, the Hurricanes slowly but surely clawed back into the game and eventually vaulted past the Longhorns with an and-one to take a 73-72 lead with 5:26 left. Miami’s clutch free-throw shooting down the stretch extended the lead and secured the win.
Many of those free throws were in the hands of Miami wing player Jordan Miller. A fifth-year senior who transferred from George Mason before the 2021-22 season, Miller was perfect in 13 attempts from the free-throw line. He was also perfect in seven attempts from the field on the way to a game-high 27 points, playing all but one minute in the game. He’s the first player since Christian Laettner in 1992 to score 27 points while shooting perfectly from the field and the free-throw line in an NCAA Tournament game.
“No one wanted to go home. We came together. We stuck together. We showed really good perseverance. And the will — the will to just want to get there,” Miller told CBS in a postgame interview on the court before being mobbed by jubilant teammates.
When asked about Miami’s Elite Eight loss as a No. 10 seed last year to Kansas (the eventual national champion), Miller explained that it provided the motivation to accomplish the feat of reaching the Final Four this time around.
“It hurt,” he told CBS. “That feeling? It doesn’t go away. And the fact that we had the opportunity to come back and make amends, make it right, that’s what was pushing me.”
"No one wants to go home" 👏
Jordan Miller and the Canes are all smiles as they advance to their first Final Four in school history! #MarchMadness @CanesHoops pic.twitter.com/5mqknCf6TS
— NCAA March Madness (@MarchMadnessMBB) March 26, 2023
In Miami’s postgame press conference, Miller expressed that the Hurricanes’ upcoming trip to Houston for the Final Four is ultimately a gift.
“After the buzzer sounded, it felt surreal,” he said. “Being able to go on stage, hold up the trophy, cut down nets again, truly blessed.”
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Miller says in his Instagram bio, “In Jesus Name I Play” and also sports a number of faith-related tattoos. Among them are on his right arm the Bible verse Philippians 4:13, behind his right ear the word “faith” and above his left knee three crosses with Jesus on the middle.
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The Hurricanes were greeted by a crowd of reporters and fans upon their arrival back in Miami at nearly 4 a.m. on Monday, still basking in their historic achievement. But Miller knows the work is not done.
“We’re going to celebrate tonight, maybe a little bit tomorrow,” he said in the postgame press conference. “But it’s not over. We’ve got a big — a team that’s rolling — next: UConn (29-8). So celebrate and then on to the next one.”
Miami (29-7) will take on the No. 4 seed from the West Region in Saturday’s second semifinal matchup in Houston. The game is set to tip at approximately 8:49 p.m. ET.
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