Despite its 78-77 loss to Northeastern, Miami remained in the top 25 of the two college basketball polls this week, checking in at No. 21 in both the Associated Press media and ESPN/USA Today coaches’ rankings.
That represents a drop from No. 15 in the AP and No. 19 in the respective polls from a week ago, when the Hurricanes appeared in the rankings for the first time in 2015-16.
The Hurricanes will put that ranking on the line in their first true road game this season when they play at Nebraska Tuesday night in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge (9 p.m. ET, ESPNU).
The Cornhuskers are 5-2 with losses to Cincinnati by four points and 24 to Villanova. They beat Tennessee 82-71 in their last outing Saturday.
Miami, meanwhile, lost its first game after capturing the Puerto Rico Tip-Off tourney when visiting Northeastern blistered the nets with a 12-of-22 shooting performance from 3-point range Friday evening.
Not surprisingly, Hurricanes coach Jim Larranaga noted that his team, which shot 54.2 percent from the field overall and went 5-of-9 from 3-point range in the second half, had 16 assists against 11 turnovers, and blocked seven shots, is going to have to pick up its perimeter defense if it is to fulfill the hopes it generated with wins over ranked opponents Utah and Butler the previous week.
Nebraska is shooting a solid 37.3 percent from behind the arc, which is better than the 32.4 the Huskies were shooting when they came into the game in Coral Gables.
“The one area of our game that we are constantly emphasizing is we have improve our 3-point shooting defense,” Larranaga said. “And we told the players that this is a very good 3-point shooting team very similar to Butler. They had great success last year and have everybody back.”
Even with the defensive issues, the Hurricanes came back from a 13-point first-half deficit and led by seven with 4:23 to go in the game, but a four-point play by Northeastern’s Jeremy Miller, who was fouled while making a 3-pointer, sparked the Huskies. They won it on Quincy Ford’s 18-foot jumper at the buzzer.
Ford finished with a game-high 24 points. Junior guard Davon Reed led Miami 19 points, matching his career high.
After the trip to Nebraska, the Hurricanes are back home for a Saturday game against Charlotte.