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(AP Photo - Mary Altaffer)

(AP Photo – Mary Altaffer)

The afternoon session of the third day of the ACC Tournament featured college basketball royalty. North Carolina, Duke and Louisville all played, with the latter two playing against each other for a berth in the ACC semifinals.

While much has been said about the ACC being in New York and the crowds in Brooklyn, the atmosphere was eclectic for the two afternoon games on Thursday. Before we look the major stories from the early games, here are the scores of the games.

North Carolina 78, Miami 53

Duke 81, Louisville 77

Tar Heels Are Dominant In Win Over Hurricanes

On the latest episode of The Box Out, both myself and Jason Cordner thought that the ACC Tournament could be a let down for a team like North Carolina. We believed that while there is serious talent on UNC, it just felt like an upset-type of tournament. After North Carolina’s dominant 25-point drubbing of Miami, I’m pretty sure they will prove us wrong.

Four players scored in double digits for the Tar Heels, who also dominated the points in the paint and points off of turnovers categories. Miami is no slouch and is a NCAA Tournament team but North Carolina made them look like a varsity high school team as they held the Hurricanes to just 35 percent shooting from the field.

If North Carolina wins the ACC Tournament, they will get a number one seed in the NCAA Tournament with no problem. They could also be in the running for the overall number one seed in the tournament as well. But before they can think about a number one seed next week, North Carolina will have Duke in the semi-finals on Friday. This will be the second game the teams have played in less than a week and Duke will be looking for revenge after the Tar Heels beat them in Chapel Hill last Saturday night.

A Star Is Born For Duke At The ACC Tournament

With all the talk for Duke about Grayson Allen and his antics, one player that has really stepped up his play is sophomore Luke Kennard. Kennard on Wednesday started horrible against Clemson shooting 1-for-9 from the field. In the second half of however, Kennard took over scoring 17 in the second half helping Duke hold on against Clemson. In Duke’s quarterfinal matchup against Louisville, Kennard continued his second half mastery scoring 18 of his 24 points in a furious Blue Devil comeback from 12 points down to defeat Louisville.

One thing that Coach Mike Krzyzewski said after their win on Wednesday was that the Blue Devils are still trying to find their identity. Kennard may be part of the identity as the “Cardiac Devils” have come to Brooklyn and will face rival North Carolina on Friday.

Duke vs. North Carolina

A storied rivalry, Duke and North Carolina will face off once again in the ACC Tournament. The scene will be different from past years as the ACC Tournament makes its debut in Brooklyn this year. The key to this game will be whether Duke can stay in tact with an extremely short bench against the Tar Heels, who has a little more depth in this back-to-back format. Get ready Brooklyn, you will see great basketball on Friday night from two of the most iconic teams in college basketball history.

Random Thoughts

  • I’m pretty sure that Duke feeds off of Grayson Allen’s antics. The Blue Devils were down in the second half to Louisville and Allen got tangled up with a Cardinal player. This led to boos from the crowd, which almost revved Duke up as they fought back to tie the game midway through the second half on their way to the victory. Could this be a ploy by the Blue Devils for Allen to be the 2017 Christian Laettner?
  • I said this after last night’s games also but the crowds for the afternoon games were phenomenal. Barclays Center was packed and the energy that went through the building had a big game feel. I’m starting to buy this tournament in Brooklyn.

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Kahlil Thomas

Kahlil is the College Sports Editor for as well as a columnist, hosting the Bump 'N Run column once per week. He also co-hosts a weekly basketball podcast, The Box Out, every Thursday evening with fellow writer Jason Cordner.
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