There was excitement in the air Friday morning in Greensboro in anticipation of day three of the ACC tournament – the big boys had arrived and everyone was looking forward to seeing the league’s top teams play. But with all the excitement surrounding UVA’s, UNC’s, Syracuse’s and Duke’s arrival, it would be the less-sexy, lower seeded teams that would impress most.
Virginia: 64 Florida State: 51
There’s no question that Florida State had the best pep band in the ACC, but their basketball team proved not to be, as they ran into a Virginia team and their stingy defense Friday afternoon. I must admit, having only faced the league’s top teams once, I wasn’t fully convinced the Cavaliers were for real, but they have made a believer out of me. UVA had by far the best defense I’ve seen in three days and were able to slow down a fast FSU squad while negating their size advantage.
Today’s win was Virginia’s third of the season over the Seminoles and they advance to the ACC tournament semifinals for the first time since 1995, where they will face Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh: 80 North Carolina: 75
You had to look no further than the sea of Carolina blue in the Greensboro Coliseum to see that the Tar Heels had an obvious home-court advantage. But in the end, even a loud, pro-UNC crowd couldn’t will their team to win.
The game wasn’t even close for the majority of the contest, as the Panthers led by as many as 20 and even though UNC made it a game at the end, it would prove to be too little too late for the Tar Heels.
Roy Williams was visibly upset and disappointed in the post-game press conference, but emphasized UNC is still a good team and told to media not to bury them yet.
NC State: 66 Syracuse: 63
The Orangemen would come up short in their ACC tournament debut as the NC State Wolfpack rode the wave of a crowd that seemed divided between the old vs new ACC. It’s hard to win when the ball isn’t going in the hoop and despite keeping it close, Syracuse couldn’t overcome their poor 32.7 field goal percentage.
ACC leading scorer and NC State star TJ Warren continued to impress with 28 points. And the Wolfpack were finally on the receiving end of a little luck when Ralston Turner banked in a 3-point shot that put State up for good.
The Wolfpack will face Duke in the tournament’s semifinals.
Duke: 63 Clemson: 62
It wasn’t much of a game for the first 35 minutes of the final contest of day three, but boy were the final five minutes crazy.
The Blue Devils were able to overcome a poor shooting night from freshman star Jabari Parker (and aided by little help from the refs, if you ask a Clemson or UNC fan) to defeat the Tigers in a game that came down to the final second.
It should be a good one between vintage ACC and North Carolina foes Duke and NC State in the semi-finals.