The North Carolina Tarheels and Duke Blue Devils met for the 11th time in the championship game for the ACC Tournament. These two teams have had the most success in the ACC Tournament as they both have been in the championship game 30 times and coming into the game Duke held the all time lead for tournament titles 18-17.
Championship Game: Duke 75, North Carolina 58
In North Carolina’s first two games, they got off to a slow start but they were able to claw back and win the game in the end. However, they fell behind early again to the rival Blue Devils and they kept the pressure on the Heels the entire time cruising to the 17 point victory. Nolan Smith, the ACC Tournament MVP, led the Blue Devils with 20 points and 10 assists. Duke was able to get solid contributions from the role players like Seth Curry, Andre Dawkins, and Ryan Kelly. Sensational freshman Harrison Barnes led the Heels in scoring with 16 and was held in check after his 40 point explosion in the semis. John Henson had 10 points and 18 boards as well for the Tarheels. The Duke seniors, Smith and Kyle Singler, got taken out with about 45 seconds left and given a standing ovation from the Duke faithful. It was Duke’s third straight ACC Tournament title and their fifth in seven years.
As for the bracket, the ACC got four teams into the tournament with the Tarheels, Blue Devils, Florida State Seminoles, and Clemson Tigers.
The Blue Devils got the number 1 seed in the West Region and open play against Hampton in Charlotte at 3 PM on Friday.
The Tarheels got a number 2 seed in the East Region and also open play in Charlotte against Long Island at 7:15 on Friday.
The Florida State Seminoles got a 10 seed in the Southwest Region and open play against Texas A&M on Friday at 4 PM in Chicago.
The Clemson Tigers play in the Last Four In round against UAB at 9 PM in Dayton on Tuesday night. The winner will play on Thursday at noon against the #5 seeed West Virginia in Tampa, Florida.
The ACC had two “snubs” in Boston College and Virginia Tech who were unable to find a seat when the music stopped. For more info, check out Eamonn Brennan’s column.