Posted: 1:02 a.m. Monday, March 18, 2013
Although Duke didn’t make the ACC Finals, Duke and everyone else should thank Miami and UNC for putting on a truly fine game. Really, about the only thing one might have wanted to change was a few mistakes down the stretch and PJ Hairston not realizing when his hot streak ended.
But that’s understandable because for most of the game he was immortal. The guy was channeling ACC greatness: Charles Scott, Randolph Childress and JJ Redick got in his head and ran down through his fingers. It was a beautiful performance. You can’t blame him for not wanting to let it go, but it was over. The streakiness left, as it always does leave streak shooters.
And of course Miami was paying more attention to him, too.
Still, even though Miami got some breathing room in the last few minutes, Carolina stayed right with them. It was, in the most complimentary sense for both teams, a great ACC game. We’re not sure we’ve ever said that about Miami before this season; now, counting the game in Durham, we’ve said it twice.
Not long after that, the bids came out: Duke and Miami both got #2 seeds, with Duke in the Midwest.
The Devils will open against Albany, a program that relies heavily on guards.
Miami, #2 in the East, opens with Pacific.
The ACC got just two other bids, one for UNC and one for NC State. The Heels open with Villanova, a dangerous but erratic and turnover prone team. If they win, they’ll advance to play Kansas in their second game.
Ol’ Roy didn’t go on the record about that but did express irritation at the ACC getting just four bids. Okay, we would have liked more too, but who was deserving? Virginia gambled on the preseason NIT to boost their RPI, which backfired when they lost to Delaware. They also lost to George Mason and worst of all, ODU, which finished with three wins on the year.
And Maryland took no chances at all on their non-conference schedule after playing Kentucky. Here’s their problem in a nutshell: MORE, LIU, LAF, GASO, NW, GMU, UMES, SCST, MONM, STON, DSU, IUPU.
That’s the rest of their nonconference schedule. You are forgiven if you don’t know who all of them are. Maryland might not either.
The UNC-Kansas game, assuming it happens, won’t be as intense as the cathartic Final Four matchup. It could still be good, though, even though Kansas should be clearly favored. One fun thing to watch: Roy vs. UNC fans.
The fanbase wasn’t happy with his half-UNC half-Kansas actions in the Final Four; he’s not happy with their perceived lack of loyalty during UNC’s struggles this year. The potential for confrontation is good.
As for State, they’re about to pay for their lack of intensity and consistency: if they get past Temple – and that’s no sure thing because Temple is smart, aggressive and intense – they’ll get Indiana. If they somehow survive both, they’ll likely see Syracuse.
And if they manage that, they’ll likely see Butler, Marquette, Illinois or Miami. The only team on that list really capable of casual play is Miami, and Miami is old enough to know better.
State got a very, very tough draw.