Miami has advanced to the Elite 8 for the 2nd straight year, knocking off the No. 1 seed in its region along the way.

Both the Hurricanes’ men’s and women’s teams are still alive in the NCAA Tournament and are just 2 wins each away from playing for a national championship.

With its once-storied football program now a full 2 decades removed from its most recent national championship, with no top 8 finishes in the final Associated Press poll since 2003, the question must be asked.

Has the U officially made the transition from a football school to a basketball school? 

It’s a topic that’s been debated vigorously on social media since Miami’s impressive takedowns of Indiana and Houston in the NCAA’s Midwest Region.

So it’s only fair that men’s coach Jim Larrañaga, one of those most responsible for turning March Madness into Hurricane season, be allowed to chime in with his thoughts on the subject.

What say you, Coach L?

“Here’s what I would tell you,” he said when asked following his team’s 89-75 upset of the top-seeded Cougars in Kansas City on Friday. “I’ve heard people describe schools as football schools, basketball schools, whatever. I don’t look at it that way. 

“Our football team has won 5 national championships. Our baseball team has won 4. I think we’ve got a great athletic department and great leadership in the administration. They do a great job of providing us the resources to be competitive. And I’m so proud of (women’s coach) Katie Meier and her staff because they did an amazing job. So hats off to both men’s and women’s basketball programs.”

It’s understandable that Larrañaga would want to take the diplomatic approach to the subject, so as to not ruffle the feathers of anyone in his fan base or popular football coach Mario Cristobal.

But the body of evidence is convincing.

That’s the entire body of evidence, not just the back-to-back Elite 8 runs that have finally given his program the attention it deserves.

While the Hurricanes have cycled through 6 football coaches without much to show for it since joining the ACC in 2004, Larrañaga has quietly compiled more victories and NCAA Tournament appearances than any other basketball coach in school history.

He’s also stayed ahead of the curve when it comes to using new concepts such as name, image and likeness, and the transfer portal to their full advantage.

Two of this year’s top contributors, homegrown star Isaiah Wong – the ACC’s Player of the Year — and Kansas State transfer Nijel Pack have both benefited from lucrative NIL deals.

Proving that success breeds success, long-time women’s coach Katie Meier has adopted a similar approach in building her team.

Two of her top players, twins Haley and Hanna Cavinder, are transfers from Fresno State who are as well known for their work as social media influencers with more than 4 million TikTok followers and a combined $1.7 million in NIL earnings as they are for their play on the court.

“The two programs have a lot in common.” Meier said after Friday’s Sweet 16 win against Villanova. “We’re very competitive, like a big brother/little sister or big sister/little brother, depending on who won that week. 

“We get that way with each other and I love it. Any opportunity you have to have somebody push you … they’re right there competing with each other in a very loving way. I think it’s elevated both of our programs.”

The 2 Miami teams are each other’s biggest fans.

Even though the men were scheduled to play No. 1 Houston later in the day Friday in Kansas City, they locked in on watching their female counterparts in their Sweet 16 game in Greenville, SC.

“We were cheering them on,” Pack said. “It was really fun watching their game, seeing them beat Villanova when they were expected to lose. Making the Elite 8 for the first time in their program history is something that people didn’t think about at the beginning of the year.”

It’s not even something anyone expected as recently as 2 weeks ago.

The women finished tied for 6th in the ACC and were seeded 9th heading into the Tournament. They survived an opening-round matchup against Oklahoma State by a single point before busting a bracket of their own with an upset of top-seeded Indiana.

Larrañaga’s men have been much less of a surprise. As the ACC regular season co-champions whose 28 wins are 1 shy of the single-season school record, they were undervalued by the NCAA selection committee as the No. 5 seed in the Midwest Region.

But at this point in the journey, seedings are meaningless.

All that matters is winning and advancing.

The men will get their chance against Texas on Sunday while the women play LSU with a trip to the Final 4 on the line for both.

With UConn’s loss to Ohio State in the women’s Sweet 16 on Saturday, Miami is the only school left with both of its teams still in contention for the national championship.

It’s just 1 more indication that while football might still be king in South Florida, at least in this NCAA Tournament, Miami has officially become a basketball school.