Hopes for ACC may rest on Duke-UNC

March, 21, 2009
03/21/09
4:26
PM ET
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- And then there were two.

Welcome to the Greensboro Coliseum, the mecca of ACC basketball, where Duke and North Carolina remain the league's two best hopes at advancing in the NCAA tournament.

That's right, even Virginia Tech got shellacked by Baylor in the NIT today, and Maryland is in the process of eating guard Greivis Vasquez's words against Memphis. Boston College, Florida State, Clemson and Wake Forest -- ooh, that was a bad one -- all lost.

It's up to the ACC's top seeds and most storied programs to take care of business here in order for the league to avoid complete embarrassment with nobody from what was supposed to be the second-best league in the country advancing past the second round.

Duke was already facing some pressure to do that, considering the Blue Devils haven't made it that far in each of the past two seasons. They face Texas in the second game, and it should be a tougher challenge than many people might think. The Longhorns will present a lot of mismatches, particularly down low. And if UNC doesn't have starting point guard Ty Lawson, who is a game-time decision with a jammed right big toe, LSU's chances automatically increase.

North Carolina and Duke finished the regular season as the ACC's best teams, with North Carolina winning the regular-season title and Duke winning the tournament title. Now the rest of the conference better hope they're that much better. Otherwise, it's on to spring football here on Tobacco Road.

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