ACC Tournament Title Run – Young Blue Devils Come of Age

Dick Cox

March 14, 2023 at 11:44 am.

The young Duke basketball team was able to eliminate mistakes that they made early in the season and captured their record-setting 22nd ACC Tournament Championship winning, 59-49, over the Virginia Cavaliers. The Blue Devils never trailed, leading by as many as 14 points and keeping the Cavaliers in a catch-up situation all night.

Duke Head Coach Jon Scheyer became the first person ever to win the ACC Tournament as both a player and a head coach. He also was the first-ever former tournament MVP to ever capture the tournament title as a head coach.

ACC Freshman of the Year Kyle Filipowski led Duke with 20 points and 10 rebounds and was selected the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. After the Devils’ 96-69 win over No. 5-seeded Pittsburgh, Filipowski said that he really wanted the chance to play Miami and Virginia again. He got his wish as Duke knocked off the No.1 seed and regular season co-champion Miami Hurricanes, 85-79, in the semifinals and regular season co-champion Virginia in the championship game.

The win was the ninth consecutive for Duke, a streak that began after an overtime loss at Virginia in which a league-acknowledged officiating error cost the Blue Devils a chance to win in regulation time. The Blue Devils go into the NCAA Tournament as one of the hottest teams in America and playing their best basketball of the season.

When Scheyer was asked what he thought his team had learned the most from the regular season that has prepared them now to play for the postseason he said, “Well, it would be great for these guys to tell you because they’re the ones going through it. To have this young of a group — at one point — I didn’t even realize. I don’t  know if you guys realized, but I looked out there and we’ve got five freshmen on the court today. We started four of them, and five of our eight freshmen are in our main rotation.

“I don’t know if anybody else has that in the country. So the development that you need, the time to understand what it takes, the opportunity to learn on the fly — I’ve thrown these guys in the fire. They’ve just battled every step of the way. To me, it makes you tougher going through those things. If you don’t go through them, you don’t know otherwise. We’ve gone through some hardships, gone through some adversity, and I feel that’s made us just really tough.”

As the ACC welcomed Scheyer as a new coach, it also said good bye to three head coaches.

Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim coached the final game of his 47-year coaching career with a last-second loss to Wake Forest. After the game, Syracuse announced that Boeheim would not be returning next season as coach and that he was retiring. Boeheim is the school’s all-time winningest coach and has been has been a player or coach at Syracuse for 60 years.

Notre Dame’s head coach, Mike Brey, ended his career as coach of the Irish for the past 24 years after a last-second loss to Virginia Tech. Brey leaves Notre Dame as the school’s all-time winningest coach with 472 wins.

Georgia Tech Coach Josh Pastner was fired after his Yellow Jacket team was eliminated. During his seven years at Tech, his teams went 109-114. His 2020-21 team won the ACC Tournament championship.

The ACC Tournament also marked the end of a season of turmoil for the North Carolina Tar Heels. North Carolina entered the season as the No. 1 team in America in the Associated Press preseason poll. The Tar Heels became the first team to start No. 1 and miss the NCAA tournament since it was expanded in 1985. The team announced that it would not accept an invitation to the NIT.

“All season our focus and goal have been on being the best team we can possibly become and reaching our full potential to give us another opportunity to compete, play for and win an NCAA championship,” coach Hubert Davis said. “Although we no longer have that opportunity and this season wasn’t what we had hoped for, I want to thank our players and staff for their hard work and love for Carolina basketball.”

Coaches Corner ACC tournament report

ALL  |  NFL  |  College Football  |  MLB  |  NBA