If they beat Virginia, they will be in the NCAA tournament. "Now you're saying we can play defense, but we can't play offense". But Notre Dame couldn't find a spark. Carr lost the ball on Pitt's next possession and Notre Dame closed it out without further drama. They swept TCU, won at Wichita State and beat USC on a "neutral" court in Los Angeles.
Then the injuries started rolling in.
Duke ranks 31st in steals per game (7.6) while Notre Dame ranks 164th (5.8). The Irish shot 43 percent for the game.
Points in the paint were controlled by Virginia Tech, with 30 points, compared to Notre Dame's 16. "I think Isaiah (Wilkins) is probably the best at it, even being undersize down there, but he just has so much fight". Have they grown enough since January to topple the nation's top-ranked team and grab a number-one seed of their own?
The Irish boast a resume with 20 wins, a Maui Invitational championship and evidence of marked improvement with senior forward Bonzie Colson (18 points; 9 rebounds) back in the lineup. The teams are 2-14 from the field combined, with Duke 0-6 in the first 4-plus minutes. Before that they had dropped three of four.
Thursday night, Bagley almost had his best performance of his short college career, a highlight reel in the paint no Notre Dame players, from freshmen to seniors, could contend with. Now they get to face Auburn with a chance to continue making their case for their first tournament appearance since 2012.
"He came out as hot as a player could come out", coach Mike Krzyzewski said, "hitting shots". Instead, Notre Dame was gassed and gutted.
We're done with 20 minutes in the ACC tourney semifinal between Duke and UNC, and the Tar Heels lead the Blue Devils at the half by five. Staying out of the zone isn't ideal for Duke, but it is necessary.
Pinson made a crossover and finished high off the glass to put North Carolina ahead 66-58 with a little over six minutes to play. Now he needs to put them to use.
"Big-time players make big-time plays", Farrell said. Trevon Duval of Duke supplied 11 assists.
"He's a flopper and he flopped really hard, sold it to the refs", Clarke said in a one-on-one with Mike Barber of the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Galvanized by star freshman Marvin Bagley, Duke played a loose-limbed, freewheeling style of basketball that favored their vast advantages in sheer athleticism. It was supposed to be a nice, post-up play off the in-bounds, but Colson improvised. Overall, 14 defeats. That's a lot - and it's a trash heap of Ls when you bring up Notre Dame's team sheet and realize the Fighting Irish only have two Quadrant 1 wins. The future National Basketball Association lottery pick finished with 33 points and 17 rebounds. Bagley's got 6 points and 5 rebounds, and the Blue Devils have pulled to within 5 points after their sluggish start. Allen will most likely be guarded by Notre Dame's Rex Pflueger.
After Allen opened the game looking like he was going to have the game of his lifetime, Bagley's performance resulted in one of the greatest ACC Tournament performances in Duke history.
"You don't know what to take away", Brey said. Experts around the country had them on both sides of the bubble entering Thursday, and a decisive loss to Duke didn't help. Notre Dame has more favorable matchups, but the Dukies can take advantage of matchups as well.