They were trying to beat Duke three times in a season for the first time since 1976, though Williamson barely played in the first game and not at all in the second due to a knee sprain. That's for the committee to decide.
Then Williamson returned, and all those problems were swept under a 6-foot-7, 285-pound rug.
Either way, the Louisville Cardinals will be dancing again without question, and all the credit in the world should go to Coach Mack and the team for silencing the doubters and getting it done this season. The "Noles had shot just 34.1 percent in a 65-52 loss back in the teams" ACC opener on January 5, but Friday night, shot 56.5 percent from the floor, and 58.3 percent in the second half.
That sentiment was readily apparent last night, as Zion poured in 31 points and the game-deciding bucket to help the Duke Blue Devils to a spot in the semifinals of the ACC Tournament.
Duke: This tournament has largely been about Williamson's return from the injury that had sidelined him for almost six full games, and what it means for the Blue Devils going forward.
"We're not anxious about it", UNC senior Luke Maye said of the Tar Heels getting a No. 1 seed, "but I think the way we've played, the way we've come on here lately - they're a great team", he said of Duke.
With Zion, Duke's stats are worthwhile to discuss: they rank top 20 in offensive efficiency, while pumping in 83.8 points a game.
"They were just the tougher team tonight", Cavaliers point guard Ty Jerome said. That tied for the most the Orange had allowed all season. For the Seminoles, it is only their third ACC Tournament final appearance, winning their first and only championship in 2012 againsr North Carolina.
They shot better, defended better, rebounded better and shot the three-pointer better than Virginia.
Not to mention, Cameron Johnson is arguably the best shooter in the country, combined with the leadership of Luke Maye and a talented player like Nassir Little coming off the bench. Finding weak points in this team is no easy task.
"We had a lot of issues in that particular game", said Florida State Head Coach Leonard Hamilton. Duke is 0-3-1 ATS in their last four versus the ACC and the under is 4-1 in their last five versus the ACC. White did, however, record five rebounds, four assists and three steals for the Tar Heels, who fell to 27-6 on the season after the loss to Duke.
Williamson (21.9 ppg), paired with fellow freshman phenom RJ Barrett (23.3 ppg), make up arguably the most-dynamic force in college hoops.
The Cavaliers boast wins over North Carolina, Virginia Tech (twice), Louisville (twice), Maryland and Wisconsin. Kabengele and Christ Koumadji struggled with foul trouble throughout the contest. "Never. Maybe Villanova past year but they scored inside as well".
Florida State was in control from the start. But it didn't cement that they'll be climbing another ladder to cut down the nets in Minneapolis.
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