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NCAA Basketball ACC BasketballDuke Blue Devils

Duke Blue Devils Are Team To Beat In ACC Tournament

Bob Donnan – USA TODAY Sports Images

Go ahead and call Miami the best team in the Atlantic Coast Conference if you must, but my money is still on Duke.

The Blue Devils didn’t just beat rival North Carolina on Saturday night. They pounded the Tar Heels 69-53 in Chapel Hill in a game that was nothing like past thrilling chapters of this storied rivalry.

Seth Curry dropped in 20 points and Mason Plumlee finished with 23 points and 13 rebounds as the Blue Devils capped the regular season with a win over North Carolina team that had been on a roll lately.

”You want to be playing at your best going into the tournament and you can’t afford a loss at this point in the season where you’re questioning your lineups and what your identity is,” Plumlee said in a post-game press conference. ”It was the kind of win we needed going into tournament time.”

Indeed it was and Duke looked every bit like a team ready to roll in the postseason. The Blue Devils shot 55.1 percent from the field and forced the Tar Heels into a misery-filled 33.9 percent shooting performance.

Duke played like a team on a mission and refused to stumble on the road.

Now, it has the momentum it needs to compete for an ACC tournament title and perhaps even a national title.

So go ahead, take Miami as the best team in the conference. But when a champion is crowned at the end of the conference tournament next week, Duke will be the team celebrating a title.

Brian Lester is a college basketball writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @BLester1993.