Never before have all four Elite Eight teams in action on a given day of the NCAA Tournament hailed from one conference. But every edition of March Madness prior to the 2016 NCAA Tournament didn't include teams from the 2016 ACC.
Four ACC teams will vie for Final Four berths on Sunday in the East and Midwest Region finals, with No. 1 North Carolina taking on No. 6 Notre Dame in the former and No. 1 Virginia meeting surprising No. 10 Syracuse in the latter.
The day's first game pits the Cavaliers against the Orange in a matchup of two suffocating defenses, though Syracuse's is better in the imagination than in reality. One thing that's absolutely true of this matchup: neither team is inclined to run, with Virginia's pace last nationally and its defensive possession length ranking No. 348 and Syracuse's possessions taking longer than anyone else.
Virginia won the only regular-season meeting between the two teams in Charlottesville, getting 21 points from Malcolm Brogdon in the 73-65 victory. Syracuse's Malachi Richardson and Michael Gbinije combined for 47 points in the loss.
The Tar Heels would seem to be more likely to repeat an ACC Tournament beatdown of Notre Dame than a road loss in South Bend, especially after their show of shooting against No. 5 Indiana in the Sweet Sixteen. The Heels, who came in ranked outside the nation's top 300 teams in three-point shooting percentage, canned 11 of 20 shots from distance against the Hoosiers, rising more than 20 spots in the national ranks.
If Marcus Paige can reprise his 6-for-9 night from deep, or even approximate it, North Carolina should be in good shape against the resilient Irish, who have come back to win all three of their NCAA Tournament games.
Here's the schedule for Sunday's Elite Eight games.
Sun., March 27 (all times Eastern)
Midwest Region Regional Final: (Allstate Center, Chicago, Ill.)
No. 1 Virginia vs. No. 10 Syracuse, 6:09 p.m., TBS
East Region Regional Final (Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pa.)
No. 1 North Carolina vs. No. 6 Notre Dame: 8:49 p.m., TBS
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March Madness: Does 6-seed Notre Dame qualify as a Cinderella story?
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