Greg Cote

Hot Heat, NFL, snortin’ line coach, UM-Duke lead this week’s latest Hot Button Top 5

The Miami Heat, NFL playoffs, UM-Duke, Florida Panthers and Australian Open make the cut for this week’s Hot Button, the Sunday Top 5 list of what South Florida sports fans are talking about.
The Miami Heat, NFL playoffs, UM-Duke, Florida Panthers and Australian Open make the cut for this week’s Hot Button, the Sunday Top 5 list of what South Florida sports fans are talking about. AP

1. HEAT: Look out, 'cuz the Heat are sizzlin' hot!: Looks like Dion Waiters is done for the year. Nevertheless Miami has won a season-high six games in a row entering Sunday's visit by Milwaukee that precedes a five-game road trip, and had climbed up to fourth in the East -- and closing in on third-place Cleveland. Heat are now 54-28 the last half of last season and first half of this one. Um, can we start the playoffs now?

2. NFL: AFC, NFC title-game matchups to be set Sunday: Two games Sunday will complete the Divisional Round playoffs and set the two games that will be play-ins for the Super Bowl. Meantime the Dolphins' contribution to the NFL conversation this week was disgraced former assistant Chris Foerster admitting he'd done cocaine a week straight at the time of that leaked video that got him ousted. Line coach, indeed!

3. UM BASKETBALL: Canes men host Duke in big ACC test: No. 18 Miami hosts Mike Krzyzewski's No. 7 Duke Blue Devils Monday night in a game that will help shape the Atlantic Coast Conference race as March Madness draws ever nearer. Duke once owned this series but Miami is 5-3 vs. the Diablos Azul ever since Jim Larranaga took over as coach in 2011-12 -- including two straight UM wins in Coral Gables.

4. PANTHERS: Week to celebrate young, old as Cats chase playoffs: Fans are thrilled that rising star and team centerpiece Aleksander "Sasha" Barkov will rep Florida in NHL All-Star Game later this month. Meantime as play resumes this coming Friday the Panthers will honor Wayne Huizenga, 80, the franchise's founding owner. One man is the reason the team is here. The other is the main reason there is hope for its future.

5. TENNIS: Australian Open sees Nadal, Halep as top seeds: Spaniard Rafael Nadal and Romania's Simona Halep are the No. 1 men's and women's seeds as the year's first tennis Grand Slam event gets underway in Melbourne. Halep, 26, has catapulted up the WTA rankings since gaining mobility with breast-reduction surgery but is yet to win her first major. Cannot confirm her rallying cry for Down Under is "Win Or Bust!"

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