#2 North Carolina 79, #7 Duke 71
North Carolina finished what had been their goal all season - to finish in first place in the ACC - by beating back their fiercest rival, Duke, 79-71, winning the ACC regular season title with a final record of 13-3. Duke will finish second, at 11-5.
Carolina put five players in double figures, led by Tyler Hansbrough, who had 17 points and 11 rebounds. Wayne Ellison scored 16, and Ty Lawson had another huge effort, scoring 13 points, with 11 rebounds and 8 assists.
The Tar Heels finish up the regular season with one of the best records in the country: 27-3, those few losses suffered against ACC opponents, Boston College, Wake Forest and Maryland. Next up is the ACC tournament and an automatic bid to the NCAAs for the winner, though the money is on North Carolina to at least reach the finals of their conference tourney and receive a #1 seeding in the field of 65.
Elsewhere around the conferences, #8 Michigan State beat #16 Purdue, 62-51, closing out their regular season with five straight wins and a #1 seed in this week's Big Ten tourney.
Northern Iowa had to go into overtime to finally subdue Illinois St., 60-57, to capture the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament championship and receive the automatic bid to the NCAA field.
In the SEC, Tennessee lost to Alabama on a last-second half-court shot, 70-67, though the game had no bearing on the standings.
Back in the ACC, Florida State solidified their credentials with a 63-53 win over Virginia Tech. The Seminoles improved to 10-6 in the conference and 23-8 overall, and are sure to get an invitation to the big dance. Virginia Tech, however, ended at 7-9 and 18-13, probably not good enough to earn a bid.
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