Friday wasn’t a good day for the ACC, and Saturday started out just as ominously for the league—until its two best teams played, that is.
No. 4 Wake Forest and No. 5 Florida State both dropped stunners Friday night, with the Demon Deacons being routed by No. 13 Cleveland State and the Seminoles falling in an overtime stunner to Wisconsin. Gary Williams’ Maryland squad was Memphis’ victim Saturday afternoon in the second round, and suddenly, the ACC—which Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski defended all year long—was down to two teams, both of which had challenging second-round matchups looming.
The Tar Heels took care of business against Louisiana State, and in the same building, Duke advanced to its first Sweet 16 since 2006 with a 74-69 win over Texas. Before the game, though, Krzyzewski was aware of the ACC’s struggles in the NCAA Tournament.
“Well, I knew that the two teams that were going to play here were going to give good efforts,” he said. “In the NCAA Tournament, so much is matchups or one play. I was watching the end of the Florida State game last night, and Toney Douglas puts them up by three, then they’re up by 1. The kid makes an unbelievable play. I felt badly for them, because I thought they could make a big run. I thought Maryland, what they did, I think they probably ran out of gas. Gary did one of his best jobs.
“So to see North Carolina and ourselves advance is great. But it wasn’t a good weekend for the last Friday and Saturday. Saturday picked up after the loss. But hopefully we’ll both be able to continue to win. That would be a nice thing.”
Cherish that, North Carolina fans. I doubt Krzyzewski pulls for the Tar Heels too often.