This time, the Cavaliers (29-3) were virtually powerless to stop No. 4 seed Florida State (27-6), which used its considerable length at every position to end Virginia's nine-game winning streak and deny the ACC regular season champions a shot at a second straight conference tournament title. Coby White launched a contested long jumper against Tre Jones, but the ball bounced out as Nassir Little crashed the glass for a tip attempt as the horn sounded.
After Kentucky's loss to Tennessee on Saturday in the semifinals of the SEC tournament, Lunardi updated his projections Saturday evening, and moved UNC back up to a No. 1 seed.
That sentiment was readily apparent last night, as Zion poured in 31 points and the game-deciding bucket to help the Duke Blue Devils to a spot in the semifinals of the ACC Tournament. The freshman phenom converted just two of his first five attempts from the field, but picked up the slack late and leads Duke with 16 points and six rebounds at the break.
Zion Williamson is back for a clash of the titans.
In a conference call Wednesday, Lunardi said if Duke beat UNC, "then that nearly counteracts the two losses which occurred largely without him".
Duke and Virginia now seem to be a lock for No. 1 seeds. It's also the same floor where Virginia lost a second-round game as a No. 2 seed to seventh-seeded Michigan State in 2015.
Who the committee will select remains unclear.
Even though North Carolina lost in an instant classic against Duke, I still think they're the most complete team in the country and the ACC team that has the best chance to cut down the nets. "We've got to have a better job from the top down, and it starts with me". As much as the loss hurts, the Tar Heels say they remain dead set on using the game as motivation, ensuring the graduating players leave Chapel Hill the right way. Florida State (27-6) has won 14 of its last 15 games with a roster that includes the core of last year's Elite Eight squad.
The argument against North Carolina, and for Gonzaga is that while the Tar Heels beat the Zags 103-90 at home on December 15, the Zags only lost three games all season.
Tennessee, which has a 9-4 Quadrant 1 record, will play for the the SEC tournament championship on Sunday against Auburn.
North Carolina led by 13 in the first half and 71-67 with less than three minutes left but couldn't hold on. Tennessee's strength of schedule was 56th, Kentucky was 12th and Gonzaga was 46th.
Maye also collected a game-high 13 rebounds, but was unsatisfied with what was likely his last performance against the Blue Devils.
"They were the tougher team", UVA guard Kyle Guy mentioned after the game.
"Would I love to see them?"