With a number of wild finishes in the ACC tournament on Friday night, the semifinals are now set for Saturday as March Madness is officially in full swing.
The Pittsburgh Panthers and Virginia Cavaliers were able to advance earlier in the day, but the bigger games from Friday came at night. The North Carolina State Wolfpack was able to take down the Syracuse Orange 66-63 despite six shot attempts by Syracuse in the final seconds.
Meanwhile, the Duke Blue Devils won 63-62 against Clemson after letting the Tigers get back into the game. Luckily, Rodney Hood was able to make two clutch free throws at the end while the Tigers were unable to get a shot off in the final seconds.
With the semifinals set for Saturday, let's take a look at the schedule for Day 4, followed by viewing information and predictions for both games.
Day 4 Schedule
|ACC Semifinals Schedule|
|1 p.m.||No. 1 Virginia vs. No. 5 Pittsburgh||ESPN|
|3 p.m.||No. 3 Duke vs. No. 7 NC State||ESPN|
|Saturday, March 15|
Live Stream Info
Both semifinal games will be available to watch online courtesy of WatchESPN.com.
Cavaliers Stay Hot, Advance to Finals
It's been a terrific season for the Cavaliers, as they have 25 wins for the first time since the 1994-95 season when they lost in the regional final at the end of the year. Now, the Cavaliers are looking to stay hot, as they've won 14 of their last 15 games.
While Virginia doesn't have an elite offense, they do have the best defense in the nation, allowing just 55.4 points per game. They've also held their opponents to just 38.4 percent shooting, the ninth-lowest mark in the country.
Still, Pittsburgh won't be a pushover. The Panthers have gone 24-8 this season and have a solid defense of their own, allowing just 62.3 points per game. In the previous matchup between these two teams back at the beginning of February, the Panthers kept it close, losing 48-45 in a very low-scoring affair.
Saturday's game likely won't feature a ton of scoring either, but Malcolm Brogdon and Joe Harris should be able to lift the Cavaliers past the Panthers to keep things rolling as they stay in the hunt for a potential No. 1 or No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament.
T.J. Warren Will Exploit Duke's Defense
The Wolfpack are going to likely have a very tough time against the Blue Devils, but sophomore forward T.J. Warren should be able to have a very strong game against Duke on Saturday.
The Blue Devils aren't exactly a strong team defensively, giving up 67.1 points per game with opponents shooting 45.1 percent from the floor. According to KenPom.com, the Blue Devils have an adjusted defensive rating of 100.4, ranking 87th in the country.
Rebounds are also a major issue for the Blue Devils, especially on defense. Heading into Friday night's game, the Blue Devils were averaging just 22.8 defensive rebounds per game, ranking 260th in the nation.
National college sports writer Bryan Fischer made sure to point out on Friday during Duke's game against Clemson that their defense down the stretch wasn't living up to the expectations of a potential NCAA title contender.
That's good to hear for Warren, who should be able to put up some big numbers for the Wolfpack. This season, Warren is averaging 24.8 points per game while shooting 53.1 percent from the floor. He's also averaging 3.3 offensive rebounds per game, which means he should be getting more than his fair share of second-chance opportunities against the Blue Devils.
Warren will likely put up some big numbers, but the Wolfpack will need more than a big game from the sophomore to take down Duke.