Duke, finally, seems to be putting the pieces together for title run

The Wildcats had a target on their backs all season as the defending national champions, but they dodged most of the punches thrown their way.

Playing in one of the 29 National Basketball Association arenas that he is surely to occupy on a nightly basis whenever he decides to turn pro, Tatum proved again and again why he was a five-star recruit and is now projected to be a top-five pick in this June's National Basketball Association draft.

Few could have predicted that the Blue Devils would win four games in four days - the first time in the tournament's history - to win the conference, and with good reason. The tournament's No. 5 seed has never won it all, even when it was just a three-day event.

Unfortunately for the Irish, Duke found one first, and made history in the process. "This week, even the game in Chapel Hill, I thought we played well. I hope we have some (Saturday night)".

Duke's case for one of the tournament's best seeds came on the strength of its schedule which included 12 wins over teams rated in the RPI's top 50.

The sophomore's 3 with 4:45 left in the second half gave Duke its first lead, 73-70, since the end of the first. The Irish had made their run; the Blue Devils countered with one of their own.

Up by three and trying to weather a Duke run, Notre Dame lost Colson when he fell to the floor with 8:10 to go while trying to tip back a missed shot.

"We haven't paid any attention to standings or seeds or rankings", the old coach said. "You're not stopping them". I couldn't quite make out what the rant was about, but he was clearly upset with his team's offensive execution.

Barca pull off the mother of all comebacks
But if anyone's capable of such an extraordinary comeback, it's Barca at the Nou Camp. Roberto added, "They say the fans are one more player, but today they were 10 more".

It looks like it all boils down to if Syracuse will be selected to determine if the ACC will get 10 teams in. We've got to score more than 77 to win (that game). "They were contested threes and there was just nothing we could do". Notre Dame is appearing in the ACC title game for the second time in its four seasons as a member of the conference.

Notre Dame is playing extremely well right now. "But like Bonzie said, we're really excited and confident right now, We're flowing really well offensively and we're playing good defense so we're confident going into (Saturday) and we're going to have fun". The other Irish player to finish in double figures was junior guard Matt Farrell, as he posted 13 points and added seven assists in the game.

Duke's big three, meanwhile, hit 8 of 12 triples, including Allen's four in the first half that Krzyzewski claimed kept his team from falling behind by 20. It shows up in great stability in times of taking punches, " Brey said.

"Those minutes by Harry were huge", Jefferson said. In their biggest game yet, they'll have the drive to shock college basketball once again. Duke has appeared in 12 championship games, with a 107-35 tournament record, 88-26 under Krzyzewski. Sit back or on the edge of your seat and enjoy this one, with the expanded ACC and the fact that neither team regularly needs the automatic bid to get into the NCAA tournament, it may be another 5 or 6 years before we get a 3rd matchup in a season.

Heading into the start of ACC play this weekend, North Carolina was still waiting for its bats to heat up.

The ACC title was Duke's record 20th crown and its record 14th under Krzyzewski.

"We won four big games and we learned something new about ourselves, something new about our team", Jackson said.