Miami is back in the top 25, and with regard to its NCAA Tournament hopes, not a moment too soon.
The Hurricanes (22-8, 11-7 ACC) checked in at No. 24 in the Associated Press poll, released Monday.
They were ranked 13th to start the year — the highest preseason rank in program history — and climbed as high as No. 6 during a a 10-0 start, but a 3-5 stretch in January dropped them out of the poll on Jan. 22. They returned at for a week No. 25 on Feb. 5 after a win at Virginia Tech, but fell out after losing at Boston College later that week. In total, they have been ranked in one of the last six weeks.
Returning to the polls is another boost for a program that has won four in a row entering the ACC Tournament in Brooklyn, where Miami will be the No. 3 seed.
Before the conference tourney begins, Miami (which was 25th in the coaches’ poll) is considered by most prognosticators to have a good NCAA Tournament resume.
ESPN’s Joe Lunardi placed the Hurricanes in the South as a No. 6 seed, starting off against 11th-seeded Baylor in Dallas. CBS Sports’ Jerry Palm also had them as a No. 6 seed in the East, facing Butler in Pittsburgh.
The Athletic’s Stewart Mandel projected Miami as a No. 8 seed in the Midwest Region, starting off the tournament against No. 9 Saint Mary’s in Nashville.
Elsewhere, guard Lonnie Walker was named an All-ACC honorable mention — the first Miami rookie to get a spot on an all-league team — and was named to the all-freshman team. Another freshman, Chris Lykes, finished third in the sixth man of the year poll. Sophomore forward Dewan Huell earned two votes (ninth place) for most improved player.
The Post will be in Brooklyn covering the ACC Tournament. Follow reporter Matt Porter on Twitter @mattyports, on Instagram @mattyports, and on Facebook @ Post on Miami Hurricanes. Be sure to check the Canes Watch blog for stories, photos, videos and other exclusive content during March Madness.