#1 UVA vs. #3 Duke
This matchup was a tantalizing one. The Blue Devils staved off a game Cavalier attack earlier on in the season, but it was in the cozy confines of Cameron Indoor. This time, the venue was Greensboro Coliseum with an ACC title and a potential one seed in the NCAA Tournament on the line.
Additionally, a win would give Virginia its first ACC Tournament championship since 1976. That’s a really, really long time ago. As for Duke, a victory would mean a 20th championship. Ho hum.
But man. The atmosphere was electric. The Cavalier fans came out in force. It was impressive. And they had a lot to get excited about early. Malcolm Brogdon was connecting early and the Cavaliers jumped out to a 9-2 lead. The Cavalier defense was a treat to watch.
The Blue Devils started to settle in a bit, but SHOCKINGLY, with 11:57 to play in the first half, Duke had yet to attempt a three-pointer. Something is just flat out wrong with that statement, but it’s truth.
But Duke’s defense had arrived. They held Virginia without a field goal for eight minutes. Granted, UVA couldn’t throw the ball in the ocean from the beach, to steal a Roy Williams saying.
Coach K was called for a technical foul that rallied the crowd into a frenzy. K was pleading his case to the refs, unsure why he received the foul.
At the half, it was Virginia holding the 28-25 advantage over Duke. The Blue Devils were shooting 30 percent from the floor while the Cavaliers were firing at 35 percent as a team.
Brogdon was leading the scoring charge for UVA with nine points. Jabari Parker scored a team-leading eight points for Duke.
The second half was underway and with it, more monstrous defensive plays by Akill Mitchell. The guy is an absolute terror to try to shoot around.
Another thing I noticed was that Duke was going to the rim A LOT more in the second half. The aggression was certainly paying off. The Blue Devils tied the game with 12 minutes to play in the contest.
And the Duke team started to turn into a one-man band. The ‘Jabari Show’ had taken over. The man is a beast – tomahawk jams and athletic steals and blocks. And if this was to be the freshman’s final ACC game, wow, he put on a display to remember.
One of the troubling aspects of the game for the Cavaliers was at the free throw line. Virginia had already missed 11 foul shots at the 5:49 mark to go.
But all in all, it was a TEAM effort from the Cavaliers. And it carried them to the finish line and the championship trophy to the delight of the Wahoos in attendance. Now, that’s both an ACC regular season and tournament title for UVA. Think they’re deserving of a NCAA one seed now? Respect.
FINAL: UVA 72 – Duke 63