With the 2023 ACC Tournament coming to a close, here were the biggest storylines and takeaways from this year’s clash.
What in the world happened to North Carolina?
It was ACC Championship or bust for North Carolina to make the NCAA tournament. But like its regular season, the Tar Heels disappointedly came up short to Virginia in the quarterfinals, becoming the first 1-seed to go from being ranked first in the AP Top 25 preseason poll to not making the NCAA tournament in the history of college basketball. With four out of their five starters returning from their title-game appearance in 2022, The Tar Heels’ collapse will be talked about for years to come, and what happened to this team is head-scratching.
NC State will be lethal in the NCAA Tournament.
Although it got dismantled by Clemson, NC State Second-Team All-ACC stars Terquavion Smith and Jerkel Joiner look like NBA-caliber starters with the way the two are playing. Mix the fact that the two are legitimate threats from deep and having the size of DJ Burns in the post, and you’ll want to keep an eye out on the Wolfpack in the NCAA Tournament.
Miami might be in trouble coming into the NCAA Tournament
The Hurricanes felt good going into their semifinal matchup vs. Duke, as they were keeping pace with the Blue Devils. Then Norchad Omier went down. The Third-Team All-ACC player has been crucial for the Canes, and if he is to remain out next week, the Canes will undoubtedly find themselves on upset alert.
Don’t trust Virginia.
Losing Ben Vander Plas hurt. And one could clearly tell the Cavaliers were hurting on both sides of the ball in the Championship game versus Duke, as Kyle Filipowski feasted down-low in the paint without him. Moving into the NCAA tournament without Vander Plas will hurt, and if Virginia – a primarily athletic team – has to face size and height, Virginia could be on upset alert.
Watch out for Duke.
The Blue Devils are rolling right now: they went on a 9-game win streak to win the championship. Their defense is suffocating. And the system that includes Jeremy Roach and Kyle Filipowski is one to watch out for. Holding Virginia in the Championship game to just 33.3 percent from the floor and 23.5 percent from 3-point range was a warning to the college basketball world that this team and head coach Jon Scheyer – who became the third ACC head coach to win the championship in their first year as sheriff of a new team on Saturday – is not playing around.