CORAL GABLES, Fla. -

The University of Miami men's basketball team left Tuesday evening for Washington, D.C, where the team plays Marquette in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament, but is going without center Reggie Johnson.

Johnson suffered a knee injury against Illinois on Sunday, according to the university's athletics department. Miami edged Illinois 63-59.

The team met with hundreds of fans outside the BankUnited Center before departing.

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"We have a lot of confidence right now," said sophomore Shane Larkin. "We're playing pretty well. We just beat a tough Illinois team, and we're playing great on the offense end and defensive end right now so we just got to go in there with a lot of intensity and hopefully we can pull it out."

"We envisioned this," said coach Jim Larranaga, "that the students would get behind us, the faculty, the administration, the town of Coral Gables, the city of Miami and they've done it and they've done it in a big way, so we're very, very happy and proud."

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Miami faces Marquette at 7:15 p.m. Thursday.