Duke, finally, seems to be putting the pieces together for title run

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The fifth-seeded Blue Devils (24-8) will play fourth-seeded, No. 10 Louisville today at Barclays Center.

The No. 14 Duke Blue Devils withstood a Herculean effort by Bonzie Colson to erase a 8-point deficit and win their 20th ACC Tournament championship, 75-69.

A less-than-expected regular season added to the chip on the shoulders that the program has to have because of who it is, Jackson believes. (He borrowed that term from Krzyzewski, his former boss.) Notre Dame was within a point with a minute remaining, whereupon Brey told point guard Matt Farrell to stop shadowing a Dukie who had yet to score. We’ve got to put numbers on the board.

It’s nearly amusing to think about now, but Duke was the fifth seed of this tournament, which is why they had the extra game – and that extra game, against a Clemson team that desperately needed to go on precisely this kind of four-day basketball bender, started off tied 33-33 at the half. The Blue Devils picked up neutral-court victories against Louisville, North Carolina and Notre Dame in the past three days to give them a total of 12 top-50 wins (Michigan State is 51st) and eight of those came away from home.

-Louisville defeated the regular season champion of four different conferences this season in Kentucky (Southeastern), Purdue (Big Ten), Wichita State (Missouri Valley) and Texas Southern (SWAC).

“These last three teams, all of them are Final Four teams”, Krzyzewski said.

Five National Championships, six gold medals, the most career wins in NCAA history and now the most tournament championships in the best conference in all of college basketball.

Colson put on an incredible offensive display, showing fans why he is one of the best players in the nation. He also was 9-for-9 from the free throw line. His tenacity and aggressiveness are back, and that’s bad news for the Irish.

The main difference for Duke was their execution on offense and defense in the second half. Allen’s play was integral to both comebacks.

Colson was able to get position inside on Duke’s interior players and scored at will until suffering an twisted ankle with just more than eight minutes left. Luckily, for Notre Dame, they have more than anyone in the country.

After trailing by four at halftime, the Irish came out of the break re-energized.

“It was not like anything I’ve been through, these last few days”, Krzyzewski said.

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To advance, the Tar Heels dispatched a team that’s been a thorn in their side recently. The tournament’s No. 5 seed has never won it all, even when it was just a three-day event. In the second game he was called for a technical when he caught Brandon Robinson in the chin with his elbow, plus he has already been called for another technical foul here at the ACC Tournament after slamming the ball down and cursing in their first game vs. Clemson. However, for a relatively young team, the experience is vital heading into March Madness. The committee in the past slotted teams by geography with the idea of keeping higher-seeded schools as close to their campuses as possible.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

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