The Elite Eight round is over, on to the Final Four. ACC day ended with North Carolina beating Notre Dame as expected, while Syracuse carried on their us-against-the-world run with a huge comeback against Virginia, setting themselves up with a game against the Tar Heels, while on the other end of the Final Four bracket await Oklahoma or Villanova.
#6 Notre Dame 74 #1 North Carolina 88: The Fighting Irish were keeping up with the Tar Heels until the second half, when UNC took the lead on a Marcu Paige Jumper with 12:21 to go, and then held Notre Dame scoreless for over three minutes, opening up a double digit lead, and from there, the road to a 19th Final Four appearance (extending their own record) was paved. Brice Johnson had another 20-10 game, finishing with 25 points and 12 rebounds. Zach Auguste got into foul trouble early and Mike Brey fell asleep with his best big man on the bench. At times it looked like North Carolina were having layup practice, hitting 61.5% of their shots relied on Demetrius Jackson (26 points) and V.J. Beachem (18 points), but against the depth and an entire lineup scoring in double figures while destroying the Irish on the boards, it wasn’t a fair fight.
#10 Syracuse 68 #1 Virginia 62: Syracuse make history as the first #10 seed to make the Final Four, and only the fourth double digit seed to do it. They’ve been proving everyone wrong so far, so the history of all those teams losing in the national semifinal means nothing to them. They didn’t let a 16-point deficit early in the second half and having just 21 points at that point get to them. Jim Boeheim realized his 2-3 defense wasn’t working, so he switched to the Full Court Press and stood by it after a couple of bad defensive possessions. It paid off. Virginia were stuck on 58 for nearly four minutes, while Syracuse took a six point lead and never looked back. Malachi Richardson scored 23 points, as the Orange moved on to the Final Four despite shooting just 36.8% from the field.