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March 18, 2013

Miami's St. Patrick's Day Basketpalooza!: Canes win ACC title, earn No. 2 seed in NCAAs; Heat win 22nd straight; plus annual Haiku Challenge on deck

TODAY: LIVE BLOG CHAT, THEN HAIKU CHALLENGE!: Our Monday live blog chat / Q&A will be today from 1-2 p.m. Don't post questions here; a separate Chat post will magically appear at around 12:45 p.m. Then, after the Chat ends we'll launch our 2013 March Madness Haiku Challenge. Twitter limits you to 140 characters. I limit you to 17 syllables. Stay tuned.

1aa1daystp[1) It is MONDAY, MARCH 18. Hope you all has a fun, corn beefy St. Patrick's Day! 2) Click on Random Evidence for Sunday's latest wisea-- notes column from me, leading with Selection Sunday. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Canes reach ACC title game, Free agency Christmas for Tannehill, Heat hit 21, USA out in WBC, Jeff Gordon. 4) Join us on Twitter @agregcote.

SUPER SUNDAY FOR BASKETBALL JUNKIES: And nobody in America has it better than Miami and South Florida, with the Hurricanes and Heat both preening on the national stage. It was a three-pronged Sunday festival of bouncing madness. Hope you hoisted a tankard of green beer, stuffed a corned beef on rye down your gaping maw, and enjoyed...

HURRICANES BEAT NORTH CAROLINA, WIN FIRST ACC CHAMPIONSHIP -- History was made by Miami as it won its first ACC championship in men's basketball, beating North Carolina and a partisan 1aa1acc13 1aa1larkinscrowd, 87-77, in Greensboro, N.C. A rematch with Duke might have had more sizzle, but the UNC Tar Heels were another storied program. UM handled North Carolina twice during the season and did again, led by 28 from Shane Larkin (pictured), Trey McKinney-Jones's six 3's and all-round solid play by Julian Gamble. This might have been the biggest win and best day in UM program history. It's also a wonderful springboard into the coming NCAA Tournament (see below). A truly magical season for coach Jim Larranaga and the Canes ... and the ride continues.

1aa1jameslHEAT EASY WIN IN TORONTO FOR 22ND IN A ROW -- It's 22 in a row now -- tied for the second-longest streak in NBA historty -- after Miami's 108-91 rout at Toronto. Dwyane Wade's 24 points and 22 from Lebron James (pictured) lifted the Heat; ex-Raptor Chris Bosh enjoyed a day off. A much tougher challenge to the streak comes next for the Heat: Tonight at rival Boston.

NCAA SELECTION SUNDAY: MIAMI OPENS FRIDAY VS. PACIFIC -- With dramatic, televised flair the NCAA men's basketball selection committee last evening revealed its at- 1aa1bkbsslarge bids and seeds, meaning the 68-team NCAA Tournament bracket is now set, and No. 2-seeded Miami will open Friday vs. 15th seed Pacific in the East Regional, in Austin, Tex. This tips off March Madness and launches a million office pools. If seedings hold the Hurricanes would eventually have to get past No. 1 East seed Indiana to reach the Final Four. Meanwhile, in the South Regional, the No. 3 seed Florida Gators will open Friday vs. 14th seed Northwestern State in Austin, and Fort Myers' Florida Gulf Coast (which upset Miami early in the season, remember?) is a 15th seed facing No. 2 Georgetown Friday in Philadelphia. It's Dick Vitale's favorite time of the year. Gentlemen, start your brackets!

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