College Basketball Insider

So who's going to stop Miami from winning the ACC?

After a month of conference games featuring blowouts, buzzer-beaters and everything in between, there are now just two power-league schools with perfect league records.

One is Florida.

The other is ... Miami?

Yes, the other is indeed Miami -- a team picked fourth in the ACC's preseason poll behind North Carolina State, Duke and North Carolina, a team that's now 8-0 in the ACC with wins over North Carolina State, Duke and North Carolina. So though there are probably more exciting teams and certainly ones with bigger stars, I'm not sure college basketball has a better story than the one Jim Larranaga is writing a thousand miles south of where he first made a national impact while guiding George Mason to the 2006 Final Four.

Might Larranaga make the Final Four again this season?

It's probably too early to predict such a thing, but it's becoming more obvious by the game that these Hurricanes must be taken seriously since the return of Reggie Johnson, who got a tip at the buzzer Saturday to lift No. 14 Miami to a 79-78 win at No. 19 NC State.

The stickback of a Shane Larkin miss provided a dramatic ending to a game in which Miami trailed for almost the entire second half and, at one point, by double digits. But the Hurricanes pulled it out, somehow. And now they'll take a nine-game winning streak and two-game lead in the ACC standings into Tuesday's game against Boston College. And, considering Boston College isn't very good, they'll almost certainly have a 10-game winning streak when North Carolina visits the BankUnited Center next weekend.

But let's not get too far ahead of ourselves.

Let's stay focused on the now -- that Miami is 17-3 overall, 8-0 in the ACC and undefeated when all of its players (namely Durand Scott and Johnson, both of whom missed losses) have been available. That's strong, unexpected and, perhaps, this sport's best story.

 
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