North Carolina earns NCAA bid, but Duke’s streak comes to an end

North Carolina earns NCAA bid, but Duke’s streak comes to an end

By TOM SHANAHAN

North Carolina is in, Duke is out.

The other six ACC teams earning bids to the NCAA tournament were Virginia, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, Clemson and Syracuse.

“We are ecstatic to be playing in the NCAA Tournament,” North Carolina coach Roy Williams said in a statement released. “There were a couple of times during the season when we were wondering whether or not we would make the field, but our team kept getting a little bit better and better. So, I’m just ecstatic for these kids, who have endured so much due to Covid and have an opportunity to continue their season.

“This will be an unusual tournament to say the least, but particularly for our coaches, because we have so many young players who will be playing in the NCAA Tournament for the first time. Wisconsin will be a big-time challenge, but we played our way into our seed and we will have to play very well to advance. But we are looking forward to having that opportunity.”

North Carolina (18-10) was seeded No. 8 in the South Region and faces No. 9 seed Wisconsin (17-12) on Friday in the first round. The Tar Heels missed last year’s tournament with a 14-19 record.

All of the games are being played in a bubble at Indianapolis arenas.

Duke (13-11) is out of the tournament for the first time since 1995, ending a 24-year streak that was second in the nation only to Kansas. The Jayhawks are now at 31, while Michigan State has the second longest streak at 23.

The highest seeded ACC teams are No. 4 Virginia (18-6) against No. 13 Ohio (16-7) on Saturday in the West and No. 4 Florida State (16-6) against No. 13 UNC-Greensboro (21-8) on Saturday in the East.

Georgia Tech (17-8), which won the ACC tournament title with a win over Florida State in the final, is a No. 9 seed facing No. 8 seed Loyola Chicago (24-4) Friday in the Midwest.

Virginia Tech (15-6) is a No. 10 seed in the South facing No. 7 seed Florida (14-9) on Friday.

Clemson is a No. 7 seed in the Midwest against No. 10 seed Rutgers (15-11) on Friday.

Syracuse (16-9) is a No. 11 seed in the Midwest facing No. 6 San Diego State (23-4) on Friday.

Louisville (13-7) didn’t make the field, but the Cardinals are the first of the four replacements teams that will be called upon if a team is unable to play its NCAA opening-round contest. After the opening rounds, any teams unable to play due to COVID-19 testing is eliminated while its opponent advances in a no-contest.

The four No. 1 seeds are Gonzaga, Illinois, Michigan and Baylor.

NATIONAL INVITATIONAL TOURNAMENT

N.C. State was the only ACC team to gain and accept an NIT bid for the 16-team tournament that will be played in Frisco and Denton, Texas.

The Wolfpack was seeded No. 3 and faces No. 2 seed Davidson on Thursday in Denton.

Louisville turned down an NIT bid. The Cardinals are first on the list of NCAA “replacement” teams if a school is unable to play its first-round NCAA game.

There had been speculation Duke was reconsidering its decision to end its season following a COVID-19 positive following the second-round win over Louisville, but there was no NCAA bid and the Blue Devils didn’t plan to accept an NIT bid.

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