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Saturday, March 13, 2010
Looking forward to the ACC semis

By Pat Forde

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- A quick look at today’s semifinal games in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament:

Miami-Duke, 1:30 p.m.

Working Title: Do You Believe in Miracles? The 12th-seeded Hurricanes are basically the 1980 U.S. hockey team, and the top-seeded Blue Devils are the Russians. That game was a semifinal, too.

At Stake: Miami needs two more victories to play in the NCAA tourney. Duke is trying to take another step toward a No. 1 NCAA seed.

Who Has The Advantage: Duke. No, really. After pulling two big upsets and playing with utmost intensity, does Miami have anything left in the tank? If the Canes use the same zone that slowed Virginia Tech Friday, Duke’s shooters could tear it up. The Blue Devils won the regular-season matchup 81-74 in Coral Gables.

Stat to watch: The rebounding totals. Miami smashed the Hokies on the glass 42-29 Friday, and outrebounded Wake Forest in the opener as well. Getting putbacks might be the Canes’ only hope for winning, but that won’t be easy against Duke’s rotation of big men.

Georgia Tech-North Carolina State, 4 p.m.

Working Title: The 24-Hour Convenience Store Semifinal. This is a 7-11 seed matchup.

At Stake: The Yellow Jackets have locked up their NCAA tournament bid by upsetting Maryland Friday. The Wolfpack must win the league tourney to play in the Big Dance.

Who Has the Advantage: Georgia Tech. The Jackets got (a little) more rest than the Wolfpack and are the deeper team to begin with. Their length -- every starter stands 6-foot-5 or taller -- will make it difficult for 6-foot point guard Javier Gonzalez to find passing lanes, and for NC State freshman shooting sensation Scott Wood to get jumpers off over them. Tech won the regular-season matchup by two points in Atlanta.

Stat to watch: The turnover total. Georgia Tech turned it over 25 times against Maryland, and NC State forced 20 turnovers from Florida State. If the Yellow Jackets are loose with the ball and give the Wolfpack easy baskets in transition, this could be yet another upset.