Previewing Miami

As big as the Feb. 5 win over Duke was, and it was big, the 78-62 victory over 15th-ranked Florida State on Feb. 26 may end up doing even more for Miami's postseason chances.

The victory improved the Hurricanes to 8-6 in the ACC, clinching at least a break-even record in the conference.

It gave the Hurricanes a tie with Virginia for fourth place in the conference, keeping alive their chances to gain a first-round bye in the league tournament.

The Hurricanes must finish with a better record than the Cavaliers to get that bye because of the loss to Virginia in the conference opener.

But with Virginia having games left against Florida State at home and Maryland on the road while the Hurricanes visit North Carolina State and then host Boston College, that's not out of the realm of possibility.

Finally, the victory over the Seminoles, achieved with center Reggie Johnson sidelined by an eligibility issue, also provided a much-needed bounce-back from the disappointing midweek loss at Maryland.

Afterward, though, coach Jim Larranaga stuck to the one-day-at-a-time, one-game-at-a-time approach that has brought the Hurricanes 17 wins in 27 games.

"Too many unknowns," Larranaga said. "Who would have known 48 hours ago that Reggie wasn't going to play in this one. My guess is that if that got announced you guys would have been digging our grave."

-- The drama continues for Miami. The school declared junior C Reggie Johnson ineligible after it was learned that members of his family had received impermissible travel benefits from a member of the former staff.

The university said in a prepared statement that the family had been told that the benefits were allowed.

The university is seeking Johnson's immediate reinstatement in an appeal to the NCAA. The violation was discovered during the school's ongoing joint NCAA-UM inquiry.

Johnson did not play against Florida State.

Earlier this season, senior F DeQuan Jones missed the first 10 games after his name came up in the booster scandal that hit the football team.

Nevin Shapiro, a convicted Ponzi schemer currently in prison, said he had paid an assistant coach, also with the former staff, $10,000 to get Jones to sign with the Hurricanes.

Jones and his family denied the charges and threatened to take the matter to court before he was reinstated.

-- With the win over the Seminoles, Miami snapped a six-game losing streak in the series with Florida State. The Seminoles won the first meeting this season 64-59 on Feb. 11 and had swept the two-game series in each of the last two seasons.

Miami's last previous victory had come on Jan. 21, 2009, in the first meeting of the 2008-09 season. The Hurricanes lost the rematch in Tallahassee that season.

-- The Hurricanes played a significant number of minutes in a zone defense against the Seminoles, which is not exactly coach Jim Larranaga's preference.

The reason for the switch from the usual man-to-man was because of what was going on in the low-scoring first half, or not going on.

"We weren't scoring," Larranaga said. "So you have to make some change. We'd already tried three different offenses.

"So we said let's change the defense and see if that changes what Florida State is doing, and that might provide us an opportunity for some fast-break baskets."

It did, but when Florida State came out in the second half and hit a couple of threes, the Hurricanes switched back to their "bread-and-butter" man-to-man and pushed their lead up to as many as 17 points with less than seven minutes remaining.

BY THE NUMBERS: 48.9 -- Miami was 23-of-47 from the field against Florida State, just the fifth team to shoot better than 48 percent against the Seminoles this season. One more made field goal and the Hurricanes would have shot 51.1 percent, which would have been a season high against the 'Noles.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's like the others. I like winning." -- Coach Jim Larranaga, pressed to assess the significance of Miami's win over Florida State.

--at North Carolina State, Feb. 29
F Scott Wood went off on a 4-of-6 three-point performance and scored 21 points for the Wolfpack in the first meeting. The 'Pack had four players in double figures, getting 18 points out of DeShawn Painter off the bench in its 78-73 victory in Coral Gables.

--vs. Boston College, March 3
The Hurricanes led by only three at the half when the two teams played on Jan. 29 but pulled away in the second half for a 76-54 victory. Freshman G Matt Humphrey was the only Eagle in double figures with 13 points. Freshman F Ryan Anderson has been coming on strong recently with 22 points against Maryland and 21 against Duke. He also had 18 rebounds in the two games, both losses

FUTURES MARKET: F Julian Gamble, who has not played since injuring his knee last summer, has been granted a sixth year of eligibility and return next season. Gamble started 13 games in 2010-11 and averaged 3.8 points, 4.0 rebounds and 0.8 blocks per game. In his three-season career, Gamble has played in 93 games, averaging 3.4 points, 3.0 rebounds and 0.7 blocks per game.

-- Junior G Durand Scott led Miami in scoring in the win over Florida State with 17 points. It was his fifth consecutive game in double figures after scoring just two points against Virginia Tech on Feb. 9.

-- Junior F Kenny Kadji was in double figures for the 14th consecutive game with 15 points against the Seminoles.

-- Freshman G Shane Larkin was 8-of-9 from the free throw line against FSU. It was his season-high in made free throws, topping his 7-of-7 performance against UNC-Greensboro on Jan. 2.

--Junior F DeQuan Jones didn't start and scored only six points, but came up with a key block in the first half with the Hurricanes down by two points that seemed to ignite a late surge that gave the Hurricanes a 24-20 halftime lead.

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