We already know before the Elite Eight tips off that there will be two ACC teams in the Final Four. How do we know this you ask? Because Sunday’s Elite Eight games look like the semifinals at the ACC Tournament. We have the #1 seeded Virginia Cavaliers taking on the #10 seeded Syracuse Orange in one quarterfinal and the #1 seed North Carolina Tar Heels taking on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Yes Notre Dame and Syracuse are now part of the ACC.
Notre Dame goth there at the expense of the Wisconsin Badgers, who had been to the last two Final Fours and were seconds away from a chance to make it three years in a row. A Demetrius Jackson steal with 14.7 seconds left was the biggest play in a 30-second defensive onslaught by the Irish that put them into the Elite Eight, 61-56. UNC also dispatched the Big Ten when they routed the Indiana Hoosiers 101-86. Brice Johnson led the Heels with 20 points and 10 rebounds as he continues to make a strong case for Tournament MVP.
The Orange needed a late defensive gem from Trevor Cooney, who stepped in and stole a baseline pass with 11 seconds to go and the Orange clinging to a one point lead over the Gonzaga Bulldogs in a battle of double digit seeds. He was called for stepping out of bounds, but replay showed he never touched the baseline. The Orange will take on the Cavs who routed Iowa State and ended the Big 12’s bid to land three teams in the Elite Eight.
So no matter the results of tomorrow’s games, there will be two ACC teams in the Final Four. If the Oklahoma Sooners and Kansas Jayhawks can both win on Saturday evening, the Big 12 will also have two. OU will take on the #1 seed Oregon Ducks and the #2 seed Villanova Wildcats await the Jayhawks.
Our picks for Saturday- Oklahoma and Villanova.
Our Sunday Picks- North Carolina and Virginia
The puts two number one seeds and two number two seeds in the Final Four, once again dispelling the notion that seeding matters little in the NCAA Tournament. Even in this year where parity was supposed to be greater than ever, the cream rises to the top.