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The Hurricanes have already set a school record for ACC victories in a season, and the last time they received any votes for No. 1 was in March 1960.

“This is what every program strives for,” Larranaga said. “Carolina and Duke have this every year. It’s a little different for us.”

The buzz the Hurricanes are creating is a big change for the long-overlooked program. Monday’s practice drew a large media contingent, and three of the past four home games have been sellouts.

“I’m at the shopping mall and people are coming up to me, `Hey, man, I’m proud of you guys. Keep it up,’” Johnson said. “That has never happened before.”