The ACC Tournament comes down to the two usual suspects clashing for the conference crown. But there's a lot more at stake when Duke and North Carolina meet at 1 p.m. on ESPN or the ACC Network.
For Duke, this is the last chance to secure a 1 seed for the 2011 NCAA Tournament. Nolan Smith's toe injury didn't appear to bother him much against Virginia Tech in Duke's semifinal victory, but there's no question that the Blue Devils would love to have a top seed and the slightly easier road to the Final Four it would entail. With a convincing win over North Carolina, that might be likely; with a loss, it's impossible.
Similarly, the Tar Heels are likely angling for a 2 seed. In Chris Dobbertean's latest NCAA Tournament bracketology, the Tar Heels are already there, but with a loss today and wins by some other teams in action on Selection Sunday — Florida, perhaps — the Heels could fall. A bad loss might even see North Carolina passed up by Big East champion Connecticut, likely the hottest team in the Selection Committee's eyes after its astounding Big East Tournament run.
Plainly, there's plenty on the line beyond bragging rights and the chance to cut down the nets as the ACC champion today.