Duke and Virginia will meet in the ACC Tournament championship game after winning Friday night.
My predictions held true for the championship game, and both Duke and Virginia will be competing for the ACC Tournament crown Saturday night. Behind great performances on both sides of the ball, Duke battled with Miami (Fla) and Virginia easily sent Clemson home en route to a championship birth.
The ACC Tournament final game will be a rematch of the two teams’ previous matchup in which Virginia escaped in overtime despite Kyle Filipowski appearing to be fouled as time expired, to no avail according to the referees. Duke will try to seek revenge for that loss, while Virginia will look to win the ACC Tournament for the first time since 2018.
Takeaway #1: Balanced Blue Devils attack
Duke dethroned top-seeded Miami in the early game, winning by seven while never trailing in the second half despite the Hurricanes hanging tight all game. Five Blue Devils scored in double figures, with Kyle Filipowski leading the way, posting 17.
Duke poured in 85 points in the victory, shooting 8-of-16 from bonus land. Duke continues to play incredibly well offensively, and Dereck Lively II, who was a bit of a non-factor in the regular season due to injuries, added a great rim protection presence. Lively blocked three shots.
Duke is the hottest team in the ACC, maybe even the country. Their journey to the championship game has been seemingly effortless, and they will most certainly be favored to win the ACC Tournament on Saturday night.
Takeaway #2: Virginia’s offensive resurgence
For the first time really since Las Vegas, Virginia’s offense is firing on all cylinders. The screens are effective and Virginia is relying less on the three-point shot and more on curls and paint shots. The defense is as good as ever, but the offense is what could bring the team over the top.
Virginia beat a hot Clemson team by 76-56, and it was not much of a game for the majority of the contest. The Cavaliers controlled both ends of the ball, playing clean and slowly growing a massive lead over the Tigers.
If any team can take down the league’s hottest team, it’s UVA. Duke is likely to be the favorite in the game, but if Virginia plays the way they have all tournament, the Blue Devils will have fits.
The ACC Tournament Championship will be at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN.