Armstrong: Dominant Heels may be saving best for last

It was this kind of night for Roy and his boys. (Alex Brandon)

The Tar Heels came to DC as regular season champs, but it had been a far from dominating regular season. Turns out they may have been saving their best stuff for March, because that was a downright terrifying-looking team in the semifinal vs. Notre Dame.

Make no mistake, the Irish can fill it. You just wouldn't have known it Friday. The Heels took everything from Notre Dame in a game deciding 24-0 run that bridged halftime.



There were blocks, there were steals, and there was harried possession after harried possession. Notre Dame did not score a single point in 39 minutes of real time. Carolina can always score, but when they defend with intensity is when they ignite.

RELATED: UNC crushes Notre Dame to reach ACC final

UNC didn't even need a big night from Brice Johnson. He was on the bench for most of the big run, saddled by what seemed at the time to be potentially problematic foul trouble. Nope. With Marcus Paige bringing the crowd to its feet with some now nostalgic nastiness, with Isaiah Hicks trying to rip down every rim and every rebound, with Joel Berry slashing the Irish interior defense and jugular, Brice was just an unnecessary accessory.

Only one team was in the building Friday night. And Isaiah Hicks was dunking. A lot.



It was the most dominant semifinal performance in ACC Tournament history. Now into their fifth championship game in the last six years, UNC looks poised to complete the ACC double and head into the NCAA Tournament as a championship favorite.

What a difference a couple weeks make since that first Duke loss.

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