With the bulk of the state of the Tar Heel State already bracing itself for a Duke vs. North Carolina ACC Tournament final, Notre Dame decided to flip the script.
The Fighting Irish raced out to a 15-5 lead over second-seeded Duke and never looked back, dispatching the Blue Devils, 74-64, in the second ACC Tournament semifinal from the Greensboro Coliseum Friday night.
Sophomore guard Demetrius Jackson led the way for Notre Dame with 15 points and 5 assists, while freshman forward Bonzie Colson continued his tremendous play of late by coming off the bench to add 17 points. Duke fell despite a monster effort from national Player of the Year hopeful Jahlil Okafor, who poured in 28 points on 13-of-18 shooting.
The two teams split their regular season series, with Notre Dame winning a 77-73 classic in South Bend on Jan. 28 and Duke getting revenge via a 90-60 beatdown at Cameron Indoor on Feb. 7.
This will be the first ACC Tournament championship game appearance for Notre Dame, which joined the conference at the start of last season. On the flip side, the Irish will be facing a Tar Heel team which has claimed the tourney title 17 times.
Schedule and results (all times Eastern)
Tuesday, March 10 (First round)
Game 1: No. 12 Boston College 66, No. 13 Georgia Tech 65 (Game reactions from our Boston College blog and Georgia Tech blog)
Game 2: No. 14 Virginia Tech 81, No. 11 Wake Forest 80 (Game reactions from our Virginia Tech blog and Wake Forest blog)
Wednesday, March 11 (Second round)
Game 3: No. 9 Florida State 76, No. 8 Clemson 73 (Game reactions from our Florida State blog and Clemson blog)
Game 4: No. 5 North Carolina 81, No. 12 Boston College 63 (Game reactions from our North Carolina blog and Boston College blog)
Game 5: No. 7 N.C. State 81, No. 10 Pittsburgh 70 (Game reactions from our N.C. State blog and Pitt blog)
Game 6: No. 6 Miami 59, No. 14 Virginia Tech 49 (Game reactions from our Miami blogand Virginia Tech blog)
Thursday, March 12 (Quarterfinals)
Game 7: No. 1 Virginia 58, No. 9 Florida State 44 (Game reactions from our Virginia blogand Florida State blog)
Game 8: No. 5 North Carolina 70, No. 4 Louisville 60 (Game reactions from our North Carolina blog and Louisville blog)
Game 9: No. 2 Duke 77, No. 7 N.C. State 53 (Game reactions from our Duke blog and N.C. State blog)
Game 10: No. 3 Notre Dame 70, No. 6 Miami 63 (Game reactions from our Notre Dame blog and Miami blog)
Friday, March 13 (Semifinals)
Game 11: No. 5 North Carolina 71, No. 1 Virginia 67
Game 12: No. 3 Notre Dame 74, No. 2 Duke 64
Saturday, March 14 (Championship)
Game 11 winner vs. Game 12 winner, 8:30 p.m., ESPN/ACC Network