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Miami posts consecutive wins for first time in 2014

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For the first time since the calendar turned from 2013 to 2014, the University of Miami men’s basketball team has won two in row -- and at home, no less.

The Hurricanes handled Boston College, which was coming off an upset of top-ranked Syracuse, thumping the Eagles 69-42 Saturday afternoon in their BankUnited Center home in Coral Gables.

The 27-point difference was the widest margin of victory for the Hurricanes (14-13, 5-9) this season, put them over .500 for the first time in over a month, and gave them their first winning streak since they won three non-conference games in a row to close out the December portion of their schedule.

The win also kept alive their chances of getting to .500 in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Yes, three of their four remaining regular-season games are on the road, but it’s not like they haven’t had success away from home, especially in conference play.

They are 3-3 on the road while their wins over BC and Notre Dame in their last two outings still leave them only 2-6 against ACC opponents at home.

“That feels great,” guard Rion Brown said of the back-to-back wins. “It took a little longer than I expected. I this would happen more toward the middle, but it’s better late than never.

“Hopefully, we can keep building on it.”

Brown was one of five seniors who started against the Eagles, the fourth consecutive game coach Jim Larranaga has elected to open with this lineup. The group is 3-1 with wins over Florida State on the road, Notre Dame, and BC and the lone loss at Virginia Tech.

“We trust each other,” Brown said. “We’ve been around each other forever. We just want to keep showing these young guys how to win.”

With two weeks left in the regular season, here’s what the Hurricanes are looking at:

-- With their 5-9 conference record, they are tied for 10th place in the conference with Notre Dame but hold the tie-breaker over the Irish, which means they would be matched up with last-place Virginia Tech in the ACC tourney’s opening round if things end up that way.

-- They are within range of ninth-place Florida State, which is 6-8 in league play going into a Sunday afternoon game at Pittsburgh. If the Hurricanes can get up to ninth by the time their regular season ends on March 8, they would earn a first-round bye in the league tournament.

-- If they can win three of their final four regular-season outings, they would be assured of finishing over .500 for the season overall and also have a nice little run going when it comes time for post-season tourney selections.

No, the Hurricanes aren’t going to return to the NCAA field unless they win the ACC tourney and get the conference’s automatic bid.

But a strong finish, especially if it should include a win at nationally ranked Virginia and a win or two in the ACC tourney, could get them NIT consideration.

Premature thinking?

Perhaps, especially with so much still to go and so many “if that happens, then this” among the realm of possibilities.

But a couple of weeks ago, there would have been another word for it. Unrealistic.

If not in the realm of probability, at least such a scenario now falls in the realm of possibility for Miami.

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