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Notre Dame falls to Duke in ACC championship game

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When Nate Britt checked in for the second time in the game, the public address announcer referred to him as "Player Zero".

North Carolina (27-7) earned the No. 1 seed in the South Region. Going into Saturday, the Tar Heels also had the edge in RPI and KenPom rankings. To their credit, I thought they played more to who they are than we did.

Down 61-48 with over 13 minutes left in regulation, Duke reeled off a 20-4 run in a five-minute stretch to take its first lead of the game at 68-65. Duke will begin its pursuit of a sixth NCAA title under coach Mike Krzyzewski with No. 15 Troy (22-14) in the first round at 7:20 p.m. on Friday (TBS). Four games in four days should take a toll on them, but they are playing so well right now that it just seems like a bad decision to pick against the Blue Devils tonight.

When the Bridgewater native was playing for Point Beach High School, the Garnet Gulls won their first-ever Shore Conference Tournament title and NJSIAA Group I state championship during his career. Down goes the defending national champion. The first-team All-ACC pick dropped 29 points on 12-for-21 shooting (including 2-for-3 from 3-point range) and fought for nine rebounds, five offensive.

I nearly penciled in No. 10 Wichita State to upset No. 2 Kentucky in the Round of 32, but the Wildcats have shown enough toughness lately to convince me they'll survive until. they lose again to Lonzo Ball and No. 3 UCLA.

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The Blue Devils' last Final Four out of the East bracket ended with an 82-72 national championship win over Arizona in 2001 as the top seed.

The Seminoles will await their NCAA Tournament seeding on Sunday afternoon.

Duke has an all-time ACC Tournament record of 98-44, a mark that includes the most wins of any team. The Cavaliers will be making their 21st NCAA Tournament appearance, their fourth straight and their fifth in six years under current head coach Tony Bennett.

Returning to the Final Four wont be easy though.

They key for this team has always been finding that next gear, a process that might've gone more smoothly if not for Giles' need to heal from an ACL tear and less serious injuries to Jefferson and others.

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Halftime-Notre Dame 42-26. 3-Point Goals-Notre Dame 13-27 (Vasturia 4-5, Ryan 3-4, Farrell 3-8, Pflueger 2-3, Beachem 1-6, Gibbs 0-1), Florida St. 5-15 (Angola-Rodas 4-7, Rathan-Mayes 1-3, Mann 0-1, Bacon 0-2, Isaac 0-2). Notre Dame trailed by one, 63-62, with 3:14 remaining. In the NCAA tournament, two wins and a Sweet 16 appearance seems nearly a foregone conclusion.

Hokies coach Buzz Williams, who formerly coached at Marquette, is familiar with the Badgers. The Wildcats will hope to advance to the East Regional Final at Madison Square Garden. On an otherwise disappointing night for his squad, the Colombian native displayed efficiency throughout while tallying his third double-digit scoring performance this season. Wake Forest is projected to make the tournament as a No. 11 seed.

In an event where guard play is an absolute prerequisite to success, Villanova has one of the nation's most seasoned - and spectacular - in Josh Hart.

"We gotta be coachable and we can't get complacent", Hart said after winning the Most Outstanding Player award following a dominating win against Creighton to clinch the Big East Tournament title.

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