Observations: Marcus Paige regains stroke at opportune time for UNC

Remember when Marcus Paige couldn’t throw the ball in the ocean?

Me neither.

The 6-foot-1 senior has struggled with his shooting all season long, but Paige looked in vintage form in North Carolina’s 101-86 win over Indiana on Friday night in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The lefty scored 21 points and was 6-of-9 from 3-point range in the victory.

Paige was 5-of-12 from long distance in the Tar Heels’ first two NCAA Tournament games, but was 0-for-7 from 3-point range in the ACC Tournament title game a few weeks ago.

If this guy plays like he did against Indiana, there’s not a single team left in the bracket that can beat North Carolina.

The ACC’s dominance continues to shine

Six teams in the Sweet 16.

Four teams in the Elite Eight.

And a minimum of two teams in the Final Four for the first time since 2004.

The ACC continues to display why it’s the best conference in college basketball and it really isn’t close.

On Sunday this conference will have four of its teams playing in two regional finals for the right to go the Final Four.

That’s simply unbelievable.

There are no more debates that need to be had about which league is the best in college basketball.

It’s the ACC.

And it’s not even close.

Everything is aligning right for Virginia

The door officially opened for the Cavaliers in the Midwest Region when Middle Tennessee upset Michigan State.

Now it looks like it’s destiny for this particular group to send Tony Bennett to his first Final Four as a head coach.

Virginia ripped through Iowa State like a knife through butter on Friday night en route to an 84-71 win in Chicago.

The Cavaliers had 26 assists on 32 made field goals and dominated the Cyclones from tip to finish.

Now they have to play a double-digit seed — Syracuse — to get to the Final Four.

If Virginia doesn’t advance to college basketball’s most fabled showcase this year, you really have to start to wonder when it’s eventually going to happen.

Notre Dame did to Wisconsin what Wisconsin did to Xavier

The Badgers erased a three-point lead with thirty seconds to play last Sunday in the second round to advance past the Musketeers and earn a berth in the Sweet 16 for the third consecutive season.

The reserve happened on Friday night in Philadelphia.

Wisconsin held a three-point lead over Notre Dame late in the game, but the Irish went on an 8-0 run in the final 19 seconds to come back and advance to the Elite Eight for the second straight year.

The Badgers are normally as good as anyone at minimizing mistakes, but untimely turnovers cost Wisconsin when it mattered most.

Greg Gard was inches away from being a game away from the Final Four in his first season as a head coach.

Instead he and everyone else in Madison, Wisconsin will be left pondering what went wrong in a season where everything after Jan. 1 seemed to go right.

Cincinnati avoided a massive disaster by keeping Mick Cronin

Nobody in America has had a better 24 hours than Mike Bohn.

Cincinnati’s athletic director escaped from a potentially embarrassing situation when Cronin opted to pass on UNLV and return to his alma mater.

The 44-year old head coach has led the Bearcats to six straight NCAA Tournaments and there’s only seven other programs in college basketball who are a part of that fraternity.

Bohn needed to keep Cronin to avoid a massive public relations disaster and now that he’s done that it’s imperative that he gives his coach the necessary resources he needs to win at the highest level.

Realignment has affected several programs, but it hasn’t affected Cincinnati.

That’s something that can’t be understated, especially when you’re in a situation where you need an upgrade in your on-campus facilities as soon as possible.

How do the Bearcats take the next step as a program?

It starts with a refurbished Fifth Third Arena along with several other bells and whistles that will make selling Cronin’s brand in his home city as easy as he sells the Bearcats’ consistent ability to hear their name called on Selection Sunday.

Marcus Paige has regained his 3-point stroke during the tourney.(USATSI)
Marcus Paige has regained his 3-point stroke during the tourney. (USATSI)

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