Perhaps overshadowed by the frenzy that is the Big East Tournament, there has been drama aplenty in Greensboro, despite being only a healthy Chris Singleton from having this bracket go chalk.
I called out North Carolina’s Kendall Marshall as a player you must watch this weekend, and he’s making me look like a prophet – dropping 10 dimes, including the game winner as time expired, plus two key three-pointers against Miami. Sure the Tar Heels would have rather waltzed to an victory yesterday afternoon, but you know Larry Drew the III couldn’t have navigated this team to overcome a 15-point second half deficit and keep this run alive UNC is a better team for overcoming this sort of adversity, and a much more viable team for the tournament as they’ve passed the ever so difficult “We Just Find Ways to Win,” test.
Who else remains: Clemson, Duke, Virginia Tech
What’s at stake: That fourth No. 1 seed is still up for grabs, and it’s now available for both Duke and UNC. Neither can’t afford to drop out tomorrow, but I’m also confident that both control their own destiny here. Will Nolan Smith play? That remains to be seen, but an inactive Smith means a depleted Blue Devil frontcourt, and you can all but discount them from the ranks of the elite. Virginia Tech also has their own work to do, hoping to hurl that monkey off their back, remove themselves from the bubble, and actually earn a tournament bid. Seeing the names of teams being thrown around as itching for those final at-large bids, I think the Hokies are safe, but another win over Duke would solidify a spot in the Big Dance.
Clemson, sort of quietly resting on the bubble, cruised past Boston College, and, much like the Hokies, are one win away from having nothing to worry about during Selection Sunday.
If Smith can return and be productive, Duke remains the favorite. If not, well, the tournament is your oyster, North Carolina.