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No Reggie Johnson? No problem for Miami

Luke Loucks, Kenny Kadji, Rion Brown

Florida State’s Luke Loucks, center, reacts as Miami’s Kenny Kadji (35) and Rion Brown (15) block him during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Coral Gables, Fla., Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)


Welcome, Miami, back into the bubble discussion.

The Hurricanes vaulted themselves into the NCAA Tournament picture with a win at Duke last month, but until their 78-62 win over No. 15 Florida State on Sunday night, there was nothing else of merit on their resume. Now the Hurricanes own wins over two-thirds of the ACC’s top three and have climbed into a tie with Virginia for fourth place in the conference standings.

With an RPI that will climb into the top 50 come Monday, the Hurricanes can probably feel pretty good about their tournament chances if they win at NC State and beat Boston College to close out the regular season.

Making the win all the more strange is the fact that Miami’s starting center, Reggie Johnson, was suspended prior to the game by the NCAA after it was revealed that his family had received improper benefits from an assistant coach that was on Frank Haith’s staff. This wasn’t the first game that Johnson missed this season; he sat out the first nine games as he recuperated from an offseason knee injury.

Now the question must be asked: does this win -- which was as dominating as the final score indicates -- negate Miami’s 5-4 performance without Johnson early in the season? If Miami can beat Florida State by 16 without Johnson, should the committee take into account his absence in their overtime loss to Ole Miss?

This is the second straight loss for Florida State, which firmly entrenches them in the third spot in the ACC standings. They were beaten soundly by Duke at home on Thursday as well. That’s not exactly the way you want to head into March. Making things tougher, FSU has to head to UVA next. Three game losing streak are not exactly ideal at the end of February.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.