Miami Hurricanes basketball, back in the top 25, not looking ahead

BLACKSBURG, VA – FEBRUARY 3: Miami Hurricanes players stand during the national anthem before a game against the Virginia Tech Hokies at Cassell Coliseum on February 3, 2018 in Blacksburg, Virginia. (Photo by Lauren Rakes/Getty Images)

After spending two weeks outside the Associated Press top 25, the Hurricanes are back in.

Among ACC teams in the AP poll released Monday, No. 25 Miami (17-5, 6-4 ACC) sits behind No. 2 Virginia, No. 9 Duke, No. 16 Clemson and No. 21 North Carolina. The Canes are also 25th in the coaches’ poll.

UM beat Pittsburgh at home and Virginia Tech on the road last week.

In the league, UM is in a three-way tie for fourth with North Carolina State and Louisville. UVa (22-1, 11-0) tops the table, followed by Clemson (19-4, 8-3) and Duke (19-4, 7-3). The top four teams in the league get a double-bye in the ACC Tournament (March 6-10 in Brooklyn), but Jim Larranaga said Monday he isn’t thinking that far.

“We’ve got way too many games (left),” he said.

Specifically, Miami has six. It plays a pair of unranked teams this week; it hosts Wake Forest at 7 p.m. Wednesday and visits Boston College at 2 p.m. Saturday. The Demon Deacons (9-14, 2-9) are 2-5 on the road. The Eagles (14-9, 4-6) are 12-2 at home.

The Canes must be wary of looking ahead to next Tuesday’s home date with Virginia (9 p.m., ESPN2). After that, it’s Syracuse at home (next Saturday), Notre Dame on the road, BC at home, UNC on the road and Virginia Tech at home, March 3, to close out the regular season.

* Larranaga praised Anthony Lawrence, who has back-to-back double-doubles and scored a career-high 25 points last Saturday, calling his defensive rebounding “nothing short of special.” Another key: he’s mainly played the four-spot, after moving around as an underclassman, and is “making some outstanding decisions at the end of games, shooting the ball with confidence … [teammates] really look to him in the clutch.”

* Lonnie Walker was named ACC co-rookie of the week for the second week in a row. Walker, who played a team-high 71 minutes last week, averaged 15.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists and went on several mini-runs by himself at key stretches.

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