ESPN says Miami Basketball has the pieces to make noise in ACC and beyond.

MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 28: Dewan Huell
MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 28: Dewan Huell /

ESPN released an updated “Way Too Early Top 25” with the Miami Basketball team moving up one spot in the rankings. The Hurricanes moved up to 11th from 12th in the rankings.

The Miami basketball team is one of five ACC teams ranked in the top 25. At number 11, the Hurricanes are the third highest ranked team in the conference.

ACC rival Duke is the nation’s top ranked team. North Carolina dropped six spots from seventh to 13th. In addition to Duke and UNC, ACC teams Louisville and Notre Dame are also in the top 25. The Cardinals are ranked as the nation’s sixth best team and Notre Dame comes in at number 21.

The upcoming season is one of the most anticipated in Miami basketball history. The Hurricanes return six of their top eight players from last season.

Miami also brings in the nation’s 11th best recruiting class. The 2017 class is regarded as the best in Miami basketball history. That eclipses last season’s class that was previously regarded as the best.

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The player that has most experts excited about Miami’s upcoming season is guard Lonnie Walker. Walker is the 14th ranked player in the class of 2017. He should help upgrade a Miami offense that struggled to score at times last season.

Walker was playing sensationally over the summer until he tore the meniscus in his knee. He should be back in time for Miami’s season opener on November 10 against Gardner Webb at the Watsco Center.

"11. Miami HurricanesPrevious Way-Too-Early ranking: 12Key losses: Davon Reed, Kamari MurphyKey additions: Lonnie Walker, Chris LykesMiami fans probably panicked when the school announced that five-star recruit Lonnie Walker suffered a torn meniscus in his right knee last month and would require surgery. But coach Jim Larranaga told that he expects Walker to play in the team’s season opener in November.That’s great news for the Hurricanes, a program capable of fighting for the ACC crown. Led by young star Bruce Brown (11.8 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 3.2 APG), the Hurricanes return a group with the personnel to challenge any team in the country.Ja’Quan Newton (13.5 PPG), the top returning scorer on the roster, will anchor one of the most promising squads of Larranaga’s tenure at Miami. Walker is an acrobatic, free spirit on fast breaks — with range — who might not stay in Miami long enough to enjoy the magic of South Beach. Larranaga told the Palm Beach Post this spring that he expects both Brown and Walker to turn pro next summer after he molds Brown into an NBA-ready point guard.Freshman power forward Deng Gak (91st in the 2017 class, per and sophomore Dewan Huell comprise a frontcourt that should help Miami maintain its top-50ish offensive rebounding rate. Larranaga has the pieces to make noise in the ACC and beyond."

Miami is aiming to make the NCAA tournament for the third straight season for just the second time in school history. Once there they will try to make their second Sweet 16 in three seasons and their fourth in school history.

The Hurricanes have the talent to challenge for an ACC title. Duke and Louisville are going to be the overwhelming favorites.

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At the very least the Hurricanes should get a double bye in the ACC Tournament. A top four finish in the ACC regular season would accomplish that. If the Hurricanes can do that they should be able to receive a top 16 seed in the NCAA Tournament.