Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski will have a chance to win a 16th ACC tournament championship in his final season at the helm, as the No. 7 Blue Devils defeated the Miami Hurricanes 80-76 in Friday night's first semifinal matchup.
Looking to play spoiler will be Virginia Tech, who upset No. 25 North Carolina 72-58 in the second semifinal. The Hokies are playing some of their best basketball of the season, having won six of their last seven games.
Saturday's final will mark Krzyzewski's 22nd appearance in the ACC title game, breaking a tie with Dean Smith for the most all-time. His 15 championships are already a conference record for a coach.
Duke and Virginia Tech last faced off on Dec. 22, with the Blue Devils winning 76-65.
2022 ACC Tournament Semifinal Results
No. 7 Duke def. Miami (FL): 80-76
Virginia Tech def No. 25 North Carolina: 72-58
2022 ACC Tournament Final Schedule
No. 7 Duke vs. Virginia Tech
Date: Saturday, March 12
Start Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
Duke Overcomes Sluggish Start to Outlast Hurricanes
Anyone who saw Miami's 76-74 win over Duke on Jan. 8 knew this game wasn't going to be easy for the higher-seeded Blue Devils.
Miami was quick out of the gate in this second meeting, building an 18-7 lead in just over six minutes of play. The aggressive defense stymied Duke's attack, and the team did a good job of converting turnovers into easy buckets.
After that initial push, the Hurricanes lost the plot a bit, scoring just two points over the next four-and-a-half minutes. That allowed Duke to settle into the game, with Paolo Banchero and A.J. Griffin doing most of the heavy lifting.
Banchero carried the team through its early struggles, making his first five shots from the field en route to 11 first-half points. Griffin came on strong late, scoring 10 of his 15 first-half points in the final three minutes to help the Blue Devils notch a 36-36 tie heading into the locker room.
The turnovers that helped Miami keep pace with the Blue Devils in the first half dried up in the second, so the Canes had to turn to another source of offense. That turned out to be Kameron McGusty, who hit the game-winning layup in the first meeting between these two teams. He was a force of nature after the break, making big play after big play as essentially the sole source of offense. He scored 12 of his team's first 14 points in the second frame and finished with a game-high 24 points.
McGusty's heroics weren't enough to get Miami out in front, as Duke's supporting cast stepped up its efforts to help Banchero and Griffin. Wendell Moore Jr. became the third star the Blue Devils needed, as he scored 17 points and notched three blocks in this game.
The Hurricanes hung tough with the Blue Devils late, but poor free-throw shooting and a travel call against McGusty in the final minute doomed their effort. Miami went just 6-of-12 from the free-throw line, while Duke was 17-of-22 in the same category, and the latter escaped with a four-point victory.
Jordan Miller had a strong outing for Miami with 17 points and 13 rebounds. Griffin finished with a team-high 21 points for Duke, while Banchero notched a double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds.
Stingy Defense and Precision Offense lead Hokies to Upset Victory
Virginia Tech wasn't supposed to make it look this easy. The Hokies had lost both of their regular-season meetings with the Tar Heels, and the latter came into the contest riding a six-game winning streak.
And yet, the Hokies played a clean, efficient game from start to finish. They were composed on offense, keeping turnovers to a minimum and making sure leading-scorer Keve Aluma saw plenty of the ball.
On the opposite end of the floor, North Carolina struggled to find a rhythm on offense. The Tar Heels shot just 37 percent from the field in the first 20 minutes, including 3-of-14 from three-point range. Armando Bacot was a bright spot in the paint, going 4-of-4 with nine points in the first half.
Tied at 14 with just over seven minutes to go, Virginia Tech made its move. They settled into a groove on offense, making seven shots in a row to build up a 29-24 advantage. A late three from Aluma then made it 32-26 at halftime.
The trip to the locker room did nothing to cool off head coach Brent Pry's squad. The Hokies, playing in their third game in as many days, raced out to a 9-0 run in the first two minutes of the second half and built up a 41-26 advantage.
North Carolina's struggles were best exemplified by Love, who finished with 10 points on 3-of-17 shooting from the floor. He did well to split the Hokies' defense on several occasions, but he struggled to finish at the rim. The rest of the team saw many of their chances smothered. Bacot beat the trend and remained perfect from the field to get his 19 points, but he couldn't do it alone.
The Hokies got an offensive boost from Darius Maddox, who finished with a career-high 20 points off the bench. His four-point play with 8:19 remaining gave his team a 60-43 lead and snuffed out the last glimmers of hope for the Tar Heels.
Aluma tallied 18 points, and the defense held tough down the stretch as the Hokies booked an unlikely spot in the title game.