But don’t overlook Duke, which, regardless of what others think, is still the team to beat in the ACC.
The Blue Devils nailed down a big win in its latest rivalry game with the North Carolina Tar Heels, winning 73-68, and they found a new scoring threat in the process.
Tyler Thornton raised his game to another level during a crucial run in the second half as helped the Blue Devils hold off their bitter rivals in a typical game between the two schools where records just don’t mean a thing.
Thornton scored nine points, all from beyond the arc, and if he can find a way to continue to come up in big moments, the Blue Devils are going to be in good shape going forward.
“It’s just the heart and the will to want to win,” Thornton said in a post-game press conference. “Especially coming down the stretch, you’ve got to go all out and leave it on the floor, and I think we did that.”
What Thornton did isn’t a surprise. Duke is one of those programs that can overcome adversity by finding someone else to step up, even if that player is the most unlikely hero.
The Blue Devils have had some issues this year, prompting some to believe Duke isn’t the best team in the ACC.
But until someone proves otherwise, Duke is still the team to beat in the conference and no one should be surprised if it wins the ACC tournament.
Brian Lester is a college basketball writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @BLester1993.