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UNC nearly doubles up Notre Dame to advance in the ACC Tournament

It’s Walker Kessler’s world and we’re just living in it.

NCAA Basketball: ACC Conference Tournament-Notre Dame North Carolina Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports

UNC was without senior big man Garrison Brooks in their opening game of the ACC Tournament, but they didn’t miss a beat in an absolute drubbing of Notre Dame with a final score of 101-59. It was the second largest margin of victory in the ACC Tournament ever.

The main part of the damage inflicted upon the Fighting Irish came in the middle of the second half when Carolina went on a 42-4 run spanning 11 minutes. You know things are bad when the announcers lament that Notre Dame had a chance to cut the deficit to ten points before the Tar Heels laid the smackdown on them.

Carolina was led by Armando Bacot’s 20 points and 13 rebounds, but freshman big man Walker Kessler nearly had a triple-double with 16 points, 12 rebounds, and eight blocks. Caleb Love, Day’Ron Sharpe, and RJ Davis joined Bacot and Kessler in double figures.

With all that, UNC’s biggest offensive weapon was the offensive rebound. They grabbed 25 rebounds on the offensive glass, falling just short of an ACC Tournament record. At several points in the game the Heels had nearly as many offensive rebounds as Notre Dame had total rebounds. The final rebounding margin ended up being 54-31. Critics will point out that you can’t be that successful on the offensive glass without missing a ton of shots, which isn’t necessarily wrong, but it matters little if you make it in the end. Carolina finished the game with 27 second chance points.

It was a very complete game for Roy Williams’ squad. Williams moved into a tie with Bob Knight with his 902nd win. You know he enjoyed it a little extra coming in a game like this one.

Next up for UNC is Virginia Tech tomorrow night. The Hokies haven’t played in a while following a COVID pause, so it’ll be interesting to see how fresh they are. Hopefully Carolina saved some points for tomorrow and the rest of the tournament.