By Mychal Hunter
Turn back the clocks to 1997, fuck I feel old, Good Will Hunting comes out and Matt Damon is instantly a star. That movie is one of my favorite movies of all time, not necessarily top 10 but easily top 20. Damon followed that up with Rounders in 1998 and put another movie in my top 20 as I am a pretty avid poker player myself, I actually played in a tournament last weekend, three places paid, I of course finished fifth but this isn’t about me. He followed those up with movies such as Dogma, the Ocean’s trilogy, The Departed and the Bourne movies. That is a fantastic resume’ of movies. That man is supremely talented, right? I am tempted to say that man started his career off on a nine game winning streak.
The Miami Hurricanes started the 2017-18 campaign on a similar trajectory, opening the season with nine consecutive wins with five of those wins seeing them score 80 or more points. They beat a La Salle team that is really underachieving this year and even went to Minnesota and beat a Golden Gophers team that at the time was thought to be one of the most talented teams in the country. Exactly one month ago the ‘Canes were 9-0 and looked like a top tier ACC basketball team that was able to overcome certain roster constraints and even some injuries to key players.
Back to Damon, in 2009 Invictus was released, which I have never seen and probably never will. Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela and something about rugby I think, I dunno, it didn’t and still does not interest me. Damon followed that up with The Informant, which I know exactly zero about because the marketing on the movie was fucking horrendous and made the movie look really stupid. In 2010 Matthew got back to kicking ass in “Green Zone”, well, that movie kind of sucked too, I watched it but it was not one of his better films. True Grit came out that same year, a remake of a John Wayne movie that saw Damon paired up with Jeff Bridges that I really liked and think is/was somewhat underrated. Then…well then Matt bought a fucking zoo or something, there was a brainwash movie and a remake of Outbreak and he bought some land on behalf of bad company and ultimately became a good man, I don’t know. I am sure there was some really good looking female involved in there somewhere. I didn’t watch any of those fucking movies either.
On December 23rd the Hurricanes traveled to Hawaii to play in the Diamond Head Classic and dropped the opening round game to New Mexico St, marking their first loss of the season. No shame there, as I have said before, the Aggies are a really good team who will be in the tournament. Miami finished up that tournament with wins over Hawaii and MTSU (The Martian) before heading into ACC play. Last night after a 2-2 start to the ACC season the ‘Canes hosted #5 Duke in a game in which Miami started well, kept it close and was actually ahead by 13 points when they went right into the shitter. Now, if that game doesn’t describe Matt Damon’s recent action movie “The Great Wall” almost perfectly, I don’t know what does.
I have said multiple times that Miami is the second most talented team in the league after the Blue Devils. Should they beat Duke at home? Eh, being in Coral Gables probably evens the odds given Duke’s poor defense and Miami’s talent on paper. Should Miami be able to beat Duke when they are up by 13 with 11 minutes to go? Yes.
I have also said all season that in the games I have watched, Walker and Brown don’t play well together. Last night that was on display again as Walker finished 6-17 (eh) for 19 points but Brown went 3-12 for 7. Those two players, two of the most talented in the entire conference, have only gone for double figures in the same game twice all season. The last time was on December 2nd against Princeton. The Hurricanes now sit at 2-3 in the ACC and will travel to Raleigh this weekend before hosting Louisville. They also get to travel to Tallahassee next week in an attempt to sweep the season series. That is not an easy stretch of games by any means but the Hurricanes have the talent to at the very least go 2-1 and I think they need to if not for anything else, just their own confidence. This is a team that could be a sweet 16 team given the talent they have but they really need to figure it out before they dig themselves in a hole they can’t climb out of. They are now 4-4 in their last 8 games and averaging under 70 points per game, on the season they are averaging 73.2, which is good for 208th in the country.
The saving grace so far this season has been their defense, which currently ranks 8th in the country in points allowed, 10th in opponents FG% and 6th in the country in Adjusted Def Efficiency. If they get that offense figured out, they can really make some noise in the conference and in the NCAA tournament.