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Miami Loses to Duke, but grabs top seed in ACC Tournament

The regular season schedule for the Atlantic Coast Conference comes to an end this week and once again, the conference scheduled proved to be exciting and action-packed.

On Saturday night, the Miami Hurricanes ranked fifth in the nation played in hostile territory against the Duke Blue Devils at Cameron Indoor Arena. Miami matched Duke, basket for basket for almost the entire game, but could not execute in the waning moments and Duke was about walk away with the win.

Duke’s win was helped by the return of Ryan Kelly one of their senior leaders on the squad who has been nursing a foot injury. Kelly picked Saturday night to set a new career-high in points with 36 in his first game since January.

His return will do wonders for the team during the upcoming ACC Tournament followed by the NCAA Tournament.

Miami already owned at least a share of the ACC regular season title, but the win for Duke was more importantly a way to make up for the beating they took in South Florida against the Hurricanes 90-63 back in January.

The win puts some swagger back into the step of the Blue Devils and gives them the momentum they wanted heading towards the post season.

Before Kelly went down injured, the Blue Devils were undefeated against non-conference opponents including Ohio State, Kentucky and Louisville. Without Kelly, the Blue Devils were routed in Miami by 27 points.

Miami now sits two games in the lead with just two games to play, and they own the conference tiebreaker if the Hurricanes end up tied for first with Duke.

The Hurricanes have locked up the top seeding for the ACC tournament as well. Miami is currently 14-2 in conference play, with Duke alone in second at 12-4, and North Carolina and Virginia a game behind Duke at 10-5.

There are still a host of exciting games that could change the standings of teams in second to sixth place. North Carolina must play Maryland Wednesday before ending their regular season against the Blue Devils next Saturday. Virginia plays at Boston College and then at Florida State before ending its regular season against Maryland at home.

All the top six teams are jockeying for tournament position with only Miami assured of the top seed. The ACC tournament will be held March 14-17 in Greensboro, North Carolina. The top four teams at the end of the regular season receive a bye in the first round of the tournament.

Not much time remains before March Madness gets underway, but things are far from settled in the ACC and will not be until the tournament final on St. Patrick’s Day.

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