First off (in order of importance), Maryland won! In the last of the day's 4 ACC Tourney quarter-final games, the Terps put on a dominating performance in beating the Cavaliers, 70-58, to advance to tomorrow's tourney semi-final. The final margin doesn't convey how convincing a victory this was. Anytime you take a 20-point lead into the locker room at the half (40-20) and have the luxury of resting your starters for a significant part of the game, while the reserves confidently finish things out . . . that's a convincing win in the BCs' book.
Super Soph and ACC Player of the Year, Alyssa Thomas, led the Terps with 18 points in just 26 minutes. Brene (Baby Bones) Moseley made the most of her ACC Tourney debut, nailing 3 of 4 from beyond the arc and finishing with 13 points in 19 minutes. Meanwhile, T-Hawk, in her 23 minutes of playing time, did her usual stellar job of cleaning the glass, grabbing a game-high 10 boards.
With tonight's win, the Terps move one step closer to playing for the ACC Championship.
Who will Maryland face in tomorrow's semi-final? Well, that's where today's ACC Round Two was really -- we mean REALLY -- interesting!
Yesterday, if you told the BCs that two teams from the State of North Carolina, and one team from a state south of the Carolinas, would join Maryland as the last four teams standing at the end of today, you wouldn't have gotten any argument from us.
And, as it turned out, that's exactly what happened today. But if it's possible to be right and at the same time be completely wrong, then that would describe this day in Greensboro.
First, in today's early game (another screaming kids day match), Georgia Tech (a team from south of the Carolinas) hung on to beat the Tar Heels in a 1-point nail-biter, 54-53. This game was exciting and entertaining, though the result wasn't entirely unexpected. But "entirely unexpected" was definitely on the menu for later in the day.
When NC State jumped out to an early lead over Duke in the 3 PM contest, the BCs confess we never thought their lead would last. Oh we of little faith! The Wolfpack, the #9 seed, knocking off the Blue Devils, the #1 seed? No way. Won't happen. But happen it did. Surprise! The fearless, relentless, never-back-down Pack pulled off a huge tournament upset. The last NC State seniors to play for Kay Yow performed a near-miracle! They sent the Blue Devils home (all the way to Durham) in the second thrilling nail-biter of the day, 75-73. Wow! Yes, that qualifies as entirely unexpected . . . and as entirely awesome! (The BCs heard, unofficially, that there hasn't been an ACC Championship final since 1991 in which either Duke or UNC wasn't competing.)
But the surprises -- and the excitement -- weren't over yet. With Duke gone, that left Miami as the now-top-seeded team in this year's tournament. Which also meant that if the remaining seeds held, the Terps and Miami would face off on Saturday for a chance to advance to the title game.
We don't know if the Canes were caught looking past Wake Forest, or if the Demon Deacons simply played inspired basketball (probably a combination, if truth be told). In any event, as entirely unexpected as Duke losing to the Pack was, it was just as surprising to see Miami upended by Wake, 81-74.
First the Tar Heels . . . gone. Then Duke . . . gone. And then . . . Miami . . . gone! We couldn't believe it! What a day! What a crazy, topsy turvy tournament! The BCs have been coming to Greensboro for years, but never, ever, ever have we experienced a day quite like this one.
So, yes, that prediction about today was totally right . . . but ever so wrong! The line-up for tomorrow's semi-finals includes Maryland, two teams from the State of North Carolina (NC State and Wake Forest) and a team from south of the Carolinas, Georgia Tech. Go figure.
To sum it all up, Maryland, now the top-seeded team remaining, meets Wake Forest in the late semi (1:30 PM), while NC State and GT face off at 11 AM.
Go Terps . . . Beat the Deacons!