WASHINGTON -- Miami's troubles began with a frustrating bus ride to the arena and continued during a first half in which the number of Hurricanes baskets could be counted on one hand and a thumb.
And soon after the finest basketball season in Miami history ended with a 71-61 loss to Marquette in the NCAA tournament Thursday night, the Hurricanes wondered aloud why this game was so different than many of the 35 that preceded it.
"It was really the first time all season long that we didn't have one guy get a hot hand and give us a chance to stay with them," coach Jim Larranaga said.
The Hurricanes went 6 for 29 from the field in the first half while falling behind by 13 points, and it only got worse after that. Sometimes, Marquette played brilliantly on defense. And sometimes, Miami just missed an open shot.
Basically, nothing went right.
"You ever have days where you're just out of sync or things just don't run along smoothly?" Larranaga said. "Almost like our trip over here. Our hotel is a mile and a half, it took us 45 minutes to get here. We had to go on nine different streets, weaving our way in and out of traffic and everything. And that's the way it seemed on the court. We were trying to find our way and never could. Never could get in rhythm offensively, and defensively."
Marquette (26-8), the No. 3 seed in the East Regional, shot 54 percent overall and 65 percent (15 for 23) in the second half. The second-seeded Hurricanes shot 34 percent overall and never led after going up 4-2.
"The game is very simple," Larranaga said. "There are only two things you have to do in basketball -- one, put the ball in the basket, two, stop the other team from putting the ball in the basket. We weren't able to do either."
And so, Miami (29-7) still hasn't advanced past the round of 16 in the NCAA tournament. But that didn't entirely ruin a season for the ACC Champs.