1. Virginia Cavaliers defeat 4. Clemson Tigers 64-58
The Semifinal matchup between the Virginia Cavaliers and Clemson Tigers was highlighted by a game of slow runs. During the early portion of the first half, the Tigers had the Cavaliers’ number. They were getting a good shot on every possession. Moreover, the Cavaliers couldn’t get anything going on the offensive side of the ball. The Tigers led 20-13 and it felt like an upset was brewing. Just when that thought crept around the 10 minute mark of the first half, the Cavaliers hit the Tigers with a sledgehammer of a run that was created in a torcher-chamber. They turned a seven point deficit into a nine-point lead. Over the final 10 minutes, the Cavaliers used a 16-0 run to take firm control of the game. Some of it was about tempo. However, most of it was due to the 0-10 shooting the Tigers produced late in the first half.
The Cavaliers pushed the lead to double digits in the second half. Kyle Guy really became a factor as the game progressed. He led the Cavaliers with 15 points and 5 rebounds. Meanwhile, Devon Hall scored 10 points. They were the only two starters to reach double figures.
Up Next: 6. North Carolina Tar Heels
6. North Carolina Tar Heels defeat 2. Duke Blue Devils 74-69
The North Carolina Tar Heels were fresh off of their win over the Miami Hurricanes. Remember, the Hurricanes defeated the Tar Heels on Senior Night. Therefore, the Tar Heels had something to look forward to. Well, Friday’s game against the Duke Blue Devils felt the same way. The Tar Heels lost to the Blue Devils on their Senior Night. As a result, they came into the ACC Tournament with a two-game losing streak. Now, the Tar Heels are one win away from a possible No. 1 seed.
They jumped out to a 16-3 lead in the first half. Timely passing and great shooting pushed the lead to double figures. However, the Blue Devils stormed right back to cut the lead to 18-14. At that point, you knew the Blue Devils were going to answer every challenge. Unfortunately, the Blue Devils had too many challenges to overcome.
In the end, they cut a 16-point lead to three points in the final seconds. The Blue Devils turned what looked like a blowout into a chance to send the game into overtime. After Grayson Allen hit a 3-pointer to cut the lead to three, he fell hard. Allen forced a drive down the right lane and charged into Kenny Williams. Then, with another chance to tie the game, Allen threw up a 3-pointer from the left wing. Moments later, Theo Pinson hit a pair of foul shots and the Tar Heels were off to the ACC Title game.
Luke Maye led five double scorers with 17 points. He also grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds in the win. Meanwhile, Pinson finished with 8 points, 4 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 steals. He also spent many minutes defending Marvin Bagley III in the paint. Bagley was held to 19 points and 13 rebounds.
Up Next: 1. Virginia Cavaliers
ACC Championship game
No. 1 Virginia Cavaliers vs. No. 6 North Carolina Tar Heels
The Cavaliers and Tar Heels only played once this season. They were held to 49 points by the Cavaliers’ vaunted defense. Keep in mind, it was the Tar Heels’ second loss of the conference season. That game was a long time ago. Meaning, both teams might be a little better in the long run. The winner takes home the ACC crown. The loser will still be a top seed when both teams are announced on Selection Sunday.