Preview: ACC Tournament Semifinals feature UVA, UNC, Miami, Notre Dame
And as you might expect based on seeding, Notre Dame, the fourth seed, had the hardest time getting there, rallying from 16 down in the second half to beat the fifth seed, Duke, 84-79, in Thursday’s quarterfinals.
After wall-to-wall basketball at the Verizon Center the past three days, the pace slows down on Friday, with the opener, #1 seed North Carolina (26-6, 15-4 ACC) vs. #4 seed Notre Dame (21-10, 12-7 ACC) tipping off at 7 p.m.
The nightcap, at approximately 9:30 p.m., has #2 seed Virginia (25-6, 14-5 ACC) facing #3 seed Miami (25-6, 14-5 ACC).
Semifinal #1: UNC vs. Notre Dame
Notre Dame won the only matchup of the teams in 2016, 80-76 at home on Feb. 6. The Irish shot 34.6 percent from the field, but forced 13 UNC turnovers, committed only two, and fought Carolina to a draw on the boards.
Oh, and they went 31-for-38 at the line. Helps if you can get to the line almost literally every minute.
The Tar Heels had a rare hot night from three (8-of-16), but Brice Johnson, despite putting up big numbers (14 points, 14 rebounds), was just 6-of-16 from the floor, effectively outplayed by Zach Auguste (15 points, 10 rebounds, 5-of-11 shooting).
Semifinal #2: UVA vs. Miami
The two split in the regular season, each winning at home, the most recent being Miami’s 64-61 win on Feb. 23.
The teams are mirror images, built on senior leaders, inside-out play, controlling tempo and playing D.
Both regular-season games were played in the 60s; this one tonight will be a similar possession-by-possession affair.