The University of Miami will put its 7-0 Atlantic Coast Conference record and eight-game winning streak on the line Saturday at North Carolina State, a team many picked to win the league title this season (4 p.m. EST, CBS).
In fact, the Wolfpack earned 26 of 53 first-place votes in media polling last October to edge out perennial contenders Duke and North Carolina for the honor.
The Wolfpack also was the choice of the coaches in preseason prognostications.
The media relegated the Hurricanes to fifth place. The coaches were more generous with a No. 4 spot.
Now, with the teams approaching the midpoint of the 18-game ACC schedule, the Hurricanes have a two-game advantage in the standings over Duke and Virginia, which are tied for second with 5-2 marks. No other ACC team has fewer than three losses in conference play, including N.C. State, which is 5-3.
It already has been documented that the 7-0 start is the best for the Hurricanes since they first began competing in a conference in the 1991-92 season, when they joined the Big East.
Their previous best start was in 1998-99, when they won their first five league games.
To put things even more in perspective, in the 22 seasons the Hurricanes have competed in a conference, they have had winning records only nine times at this stage of the season with their best efforts 5-2 marks in four consecutive seasons over the last half of the 1990s.
Since starting play in the ACC in the 2004-05 season, they have had a winning record after seven games only four times, including this season.
Here is a look at how the Hurricanes have stood after seven games and how they went on to finish in conference play:
1991-92: 1-6, 1-17
1992-93: 2-5, 7-11
1993-94: 0-7, 0-18
1994-95: 3-4, 9-9
1995-96: 3-4, 8-10
1996-97: 5-2, 9-9
1997-98: 5-2, 11-7
1998-99: 5-2, 15-3
1999-00: 5-2, 13-3
2000-01: 2-5, 8-8
2001-02: 4-3, 10-6
2002-03: 2-5, 4-12
2003-04: 3-5, 4-12
2004-05: 4-3, 7-9
2005-06: 4-3, 7-9
2006-07: 2-5, 4-12
2007-08: 2-5, 9-9
2008-09: 3-4, 7-9
2009-10: 2-5, 4-12
2010-11: 1-6, 6-10
2011-12: 4-3, 9-7
2012-13: 7-0, ?-?
What’s even more remarkable is that the Hurricanes have compiled their record this season despite being on the road four times in conference play.
Admittedly, the game at N.C. State looks to be their toughest road test yet, but their record does include a win at North Carolina. Despite the Tar Heels’ up-and-down play, that remains their only loss in 10 home games for the season.
One other item of note: Miami is the first team other than Duke or North Carolina to start ACC play with a 7-0 mark since Virginia did it in 1981. Current Hurricanes coach Jim Larranaga was an assistant on the Virginia staff, and the Cavaliers’ roster included a center named Ralph Sampson.