Last fall, when Miami Hurricanes basketball still operated in the shadows of the football program, coach Jim Larranaga dropped in on a meeting of university officials and predicted a big season for his team.
"I went to the board of trustees," Larranaga recalls, "and I said, 'I'm the basketball coach. I don't know if you guys know that or not. But we're going to have perhaps the best season in school history.' '
Larranaga was right. The Hurricanes cracked the Top 25 in late January, climbed to a school-record No. 2 a month later and have earned at least a share of their first Atlantic Coast Conference championship with two games to go, both at home.
That ensures plenty of motivation for Miami to bounce back quickly from Saturday's thrilling but wrenching loss at Duke.
"These kids are pretty resilient," Larranaga says. "They know we've got a lot more basketball ahead of us."
Now ranked No. 6, the Hurricanes (23-5, 14-2) play Georgia Tech today and Clemson on Saturday. Win either game, and they clinch their first outright league basketball title.
Larranaga says that while he and his coaches expected such success from the senior-laden team, his players needed some convincing. A road win Jan. 10 against North Carolina did the job.
"When we won at Carolina, I could see everything changed," Larranaga says. "They really believed that if were good enough to win at Chapel Hill, we should be good enough to win anywhere."
NO. 14 OHIO STATE 67,
NO. 2 INDIANA 58
Deshaun Thomas and Aaron Craft scored nine of Ohio State's points in a decisive 11-2 run, leading the Buckeyes (22-7, 12-5 Big Ten) past Indiana (25-5, 13-4).
Thomas finished with 18 points and Craft added 15 as the Buckeyes won their fourth straight.
The Hoosiers were trying to claim their first outright Big Ten crown since 1993.
They will have another chance Sunday at No. 7 Michigan.
NO. 3 DUKE 85,
VIRGINIA TECH 57
Seth Curry scored 20 points in his final home game and Duke (26-4, 13-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) pulled away to beat Virginia Tech (13-17, 4-13).
Erick Green scored 25 points on 10 of 19 shooting to lead Virginia Tech.
NO. 9 KANSAS STATE 79,
Angel Rodriguez had 21 points and 10 assists and Shane Southwell and Martavious Irving both added 15 points as Kansas State (25-5, 14-3 Big East) beat TCU (10-20, 1-16).
NO. 24 NOTRE DAME 66,
ST. JOHN'S 40
Jerian Grant had 21 points and eight assists, Eric Atkins added 15 points and Notre Dame (23-7, 11-6 Big East) held St. John's (16-13, 8-9) to 18 percent shooting in the second half.
JaKarr Sampson led St. John's with 12 points and Phil Greene added 10.
NO. 15 MARQUETTE 60,
Jamil Wilson scored all 10 of his points in the second half, including the late 3-pointer that put Marquette ahead for good, and the Golden Eagles (22-7, 13-4 Big East) rallied to beat Rutgers (13-15, 4-13).
Vander Blue had 22 points and made two game-sealing free throws with 13.9 seconds left for Marquette, which kept pace with Georgetown and Louisville for the regular-season title with one game remaining.