By Adam Lucas
1. Carolina’s ACC Tournament stay came to an end with a decisive 72-59 loss to Virginia Tech.
2. Pretty simple: Virginia Tech played like a team hungry for an NCAA Tournament berth, and Carolina simply couldn’t match that energy. For the first time in weeks, the Tar Heels occasionally looked tired, and the Hokies simply out-competed them. Mike Young’s team looked every bit like an NCAA Tournament squad and will have the chance to earn an automatic bid tomorrow night. You simply can’t understand how big that game was for Virginia Tech unless you were in the Barclays Center. And to their credit, they played up to that level of intensity.
3. The first half changed when Leaky Black picked up his second crowd with 8:40 remaining. To that point, Virginia Tech was 4-for-16 from the field. After Black went off the court, the Hokies finished the half going 8-for-12. They took a six-point halftime lead into the locker room.
4. Carolina’s three-point shooting wasn’t good in New York City. The Tar Heels hit just 9-for-49 from the arc in the two games. That included a 3-for-26 performance on Friday night, when the Tar Heels simply couldn’t get any outside shots to fall. Carolina’s guards struggled mightily, with Caleb Love shooting just 3-for-17 and RJ Davis going 2-for-10.
5. That was in contrast to Virginia Tech, which hit a meager 5-for-26 from three in the game in Blacksburg. The Hokies were much more efficient in Brooklyn, going 9-for-19. The key offensive figure was Darius Maddox, who pumped in a career-high 19 points and drained four of his five three-pointers.
6. Virginia Tech doubled Armando Bacot aggressively when he received the ball in the post. The Carolina big man was still by far Carolina’s most consistent offense, going 9-for-10 from the floor for his 19 points and also grabbing 14 rebounds. Other than Bacot, Carolina players shot only 13-for-50.
7. Bacot moved into second place on the Carolina single season rebounding list. He passed Tyler Hansbrough with his second board of the night. The only Tar Heel still above him is Brice Johnson, who grabbed 416 rebounds during the 2015-16 campaign. Bacot also added to his school record by posting his 25th double-double.
8. Two of the problematic areas on Friday night: Carolina had just four fast break points, as Virginia Tech did a terrific job in transition defense. And before the Tar Heels cleared the bench with 2:12 remaining, the bench points were 28-0 in Virginia Tech’s favor.
9. And remember, points off turnovers continue to be a very decisive stat for this year’s team. Tech won that category, 12-4. Carolina is now 7-8 this season when losing that battle.
10. Expect to see Carolina making more regular appearances in New York during the Hubert Davis era. The former New York Knick played at Carolina in an era when the Tar Heels were largely New York City’s team, and he has already stated a desire to play more regularly in the Big Apple. Carolina is 43-24 all-time in Brooklyn and Manhattan and 7-3 all-time in Brooklyn alone. There was no doubt that the crowd on Friday night for the two-semifinal doubleheader was a Duke-heavy crowd–significantly moreso than if the game had been in Greensboro.