Well, it is College Basketball Tournament season. The Big Dance is already down to 32 teams. As noted earlier, Duke is not among them.
But it was not all bad for the Atlantic Coast Conference on March 16, 2012. Even without John Henson, #1 North Carolina had no trouble defeating #16 seed Vermont, 77-58. Tyler Zeller had 17 points and 15 rebounds to lead the Tar Heels. In Henson’s absence, James Michael McAdoo started and scored a season-high 17 points also. With the win, North Carolina advances to play #8 Creighton, who defeated Alabama 58-57.
Perhaps the most impressive win of the day for the ACC was #11 seed North Carolina State upsetting #6 seed San Diego State, 79-65. While not an extraordinary seed difference, nobody expected the Wolfpack to run away with the game. After all, they were on the wrong side of the bubble for most of Championship week. But North Carolina State shot an amazing 58.5% from the field en route to the victory. Richard Howell led the team with 22 points, but State picked up big contributions from Lorenzo Brown (17 points), C.J. Leslie (15 points) and Scott Wood (10 points). The Wolfpack moves on to play #3 seed Georgetown, who finally got over their first round issues by defeating #14 seed Belmont, 74-59.
The most disappointing performance of the day for the ACC was not Duke’s loss, but #10 Virginia’s utter collapse against #7 Florida, 71-45. While the Gators have more talent than the average #7 seed, they have not played to potential very often at all. But a 41-23 second-half made this an unexpected blowout, ending Virginia’s surprisingly good season. As usual, it was Mike Scott leading the way for Virginia with 15 points.
The final game of the day involved #3 Florida State and #14 St. Bonaventure. Give credit to the Bonnies for making this game close throughout, but the Seminoles ultimately prevailed 66-63. While Michael Snaer has been the hero for most of the season, he was absent on Friday and held scoreless on 0 for 7 shooting. Bernard James stepped up to lead the Seminoles with 19 points. Ugly as it was, Florida State moves on to play #6 seed Cincinnati, who defeated Texas 65-59.