Florida State upends Virginia, 69-59, in ACC semifinals
Florida State upends Virginia, 69-59, in ACC semifinals
Christ Koumadje of the Florida State Seminoles
17 March, 2019, 10:27
Picked to finish seventh in the ACC a few months ago, and not given a single selection to the league's all-conference teams earlier this week, the plans here at Charlotte's Spectrum Center seemed to suggest that the Seminoles would bow out to top-seeded and No. 2 Virginia, then await their NCAA tournament fates while the Cavaliers and either Duke or North Carolina took center stage in the ACC title game on Saturday night.
Kentucky, North Carolina, Michigan and Michigan State look like leaders for No. 2 seeds. So the question loomed: Would UNC still be the better team with Duke at full strength?
The Tar Heels are 10-6 in "Quadrant 1" games this season.
"He adds a different dimension to their team", UNC's Cam Johnson said of Williamson's return. Even with the minor hiccup, there's still a lot to like about this team as we enter March Madness. But they ran the same kind of sets, and we got the same kind of shots we wanted as the first two games.
Duke took a one-point 74-73 win over rival North Carolina in their semifinal matchup.
Nor did Coby White's final jumper, nor Nassir Little's putback attempt.
Either way, the Louisville Cardinals will be dancing again without question, and all the credit in the world should go to Coach Mack and the team for silencing the doubters and getting it done this season.
The Virginia Cavaliers react against the Florida State Seminoles
And yet, Williamson's impact was something bordering on transcendent.
In a must win game, the Blue Devils found themselves down 33-20 with 7-minutes left in the first half.
During an 11-1 Seminoles run in the second half, Nichols made three consecutive field goals, once even scoring on Hunter, the ACC defensive player of the year and projected National Basketball Association lottery pick who has drawn comparisons to Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard, among the best two-way players in the world. His steal that led to a monster dunk was a turning point in the game.
Coaches like to say the league's schedule - every opponent home and away - prepares its teams for the NCAA grind, and it proved past year with Kansas reaching the Final Four and K-State and Tech getting to the Elite Eight. "Regardless of the situation, regardless of who's here and who's not, we're always going to keep pushing and keep fighting until the buzzer goes off". "He just flies around". Even with Williamson scoring 31 points, UNC had a chance to win on the final possession. And his success in the paint overshadowed RJ Barrett's 5-of-15 shooting night.
The Florida State Seminoles and the Duke Blue Devils will match up in college basketball action from the ACC Tournament on Saturday. That leaves two more top seeds up for grabs, and both the Blue Devils and Tar Heels are in heavy consideration for those spots.
"These two guys have an incredible will to win", Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said of Williamson and Barrett, "and it makes us coaches look a lot better". Williams made that case after Friday's loss, noting that "injuries are a part of it, too". "They defended well, they were sound and tonight they were the tougher team". I think we went up one, but Florida State played well. "Honestly, if we match up against them, it'll be a great game", Williamson said. "But we'll watch the tape and we'll be better from it".
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