Miami has border boundary to battle

ldecock@newsobserver.comMarch 13, 2013 


Duke forward Ryan Kelly (34) looses control of the ball as UNC guard P.J. Hairston (15) defends in the first half of play. Duke beat UNC 69-53 at the Smith Center in Chapel Hill, N.C. Saturday March 9, 2013.


The 60th ACC basketball tournament will be in Greensboro, where Duke has won three titles dating to 2006. The other time the tournament was held within the state recently, in Charlotte in 2008, North Carolina won.

Together, they have won 10 of the past 11 tournaments played in the state. Even though Miami is the No. 1 seed this week, that history might bode well for the Triangle teams.

Here are five more reasons to watch this weekend:

1. N.C. State, the preseason pick by ACC coaches and media to win the league, will try to become the first ACC team to win four games in four days and claim the championship. Since the ACC went to 12 teams, only two teams that started Thursday have even made the title game. Both lost.

2. Duke forward Ryan Kelly, a senior from Raleigh, missed almost the entire ACC season with a foot injury, but he poured in 54 points in his first two games back before scoring only eight in a win against North Carolina on Sunday.

How quickly Kelly gets up to full speed on a consistent basis will have a lot to say about Duke’s chances not only this week but in the NCAA tournament. Duke has yet to lose with Kelly in the lineup.

3. Miami ended up winning the regular-season title with a game to spare, but the Hurricanes are 7-8 in the ACC tournament since joining the conference in 2005. Can they make postseason history as well? The No. 1 seed has won only one of the past four tournaments.

4. This is the final 12-team ACC tournament, with Notre Dame, Pittsburgh and Syracuse joining the conference next season and Louisville replacing Maryland after that. A new format and new sites – New York City? – await.

5. Duke won the first two meetings with North Carolina this season. If both hold serve Friday night, the Tar Heels will get their chance for revenge in the semifinals Saturday. They have only met once in the tournament since 2003, in the 2011 championship game.

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