ACC Tournament Notebook

CHARLOTTE, NC -- This has been a season of many firsts for the North Carolina Tar Heels.

For the first time ever, UNC fell six games under .500, lost more than eight Atlantic Coast Conference games, lost more than 15 games overall and finished last (three-way tie) in the league. It is also the first season in 27 years that will end without a trip to the NCAA Tournament, first in 37 in which the Heels didn't finish at least third in the conference and first time in 31 years Carolina won't win at least 20 games. 

It is also the first time that Carolina and arch rival Duke will face each other in the quarterfinals of the league's prestigious tournament. 

When No. 7 UNC tips off with No. 2 Duke tonight at 7 p.m. at the Charlotte Coliseum, another piece of history will be made in a season where UNC fans have had their fill. 

"I don't mind," UNC sophomore Adam Boone said on Sunday about the Heels facing the Devils again five days later. "We can't worry about what we can't control. We need to get ready to play and be focused about winning." 

A win would also be another first for UNC, or at least a rare high that so many teams have attempted to experience when facing decades of legendary Carolina squads. It would be the Heels' biggest upset ever.

Another Low For UNC 

Prior to this weekend, North Carolina had never been seeded lower than No. 5 in the ACC Tournament. This weekend, however, the Tar Heels were seeded No. 7.  

In the first 48 ACC Tournaments, UNC was 35-10 as a No. 1 seed, 23-7 as a No. 2, 11-7 as a No. 3, 4-5 as a No. 4 and 1-3 as a No. 5. 

Double-D's For Juan D. 

Maryland's Juan Dixon is the active leader by scoring in double figures in 46 consecutive games. The second longest active streak belongs to Virginia's Roger Mason Jr., who has done so in 38 straight contests. Wake Forest's Darius Songaila (16), N.C. State's Anthony Grundy (13), Georgia Tech's Tony Akins (11) and Maryland's Byron Mouton (10) are next in line. 

Small Class 

Of the 13 weeks in which the ACC named a player of the week, only Duke's Jason Williams (3) and Juan Dixon (2) were honored more than once. 

Young Guns 

N.C. State's Julius Hodge entered the tournament as the leading freshmen scorer in the conference at 10.2 points per game. In a tie for second was UNC's Jawad Williams and Georgia Tech's B.J. Elder at 9.9 points per game. The rest of the top ten: Ed Nelson, Georgia Tech (8.5); Josh Powell, N.C. State (7.8); Elton Brown, Virginia (7.6); Anthony Richardson, Florida State (7.4); Isma'il Muhammad, Georgia Tech (6.7); Ilian Evtimov, N.C. State (6.6) and Vytas Danelius, Wake Forest (6.6).  

Andrew Jones is in his sixth year covering football and basketball for Inside Carolina. He is also in his fourth year as a copy editor and staff writer for the Wilmington Star-News and hosts a nightly radio show on WAAV-AM980 in Wilmington. He has also written for ACCNews and once published The College Game and the former Total Sports. He can be reached via e-mail at: AJWAAV@aol.com.  

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