Zion Williamson, the ACC player of the year, missed the first two games with a knee sprain but played in the third.
"The guy" in this case would be Zion Williamson, and North Carolina heard its share about him even before he took the court.
The 6-foot-7, 285-pound freshman - who barely played in one regular-season loss to UNC and not at all in the second - finished with 31 points and 11 rebounds for the Blue Devils (28-5).
Friday's victory offered an answer of sorts, but not one Williams or the rest of the Tar Heels were ready to affirm with any sense of certainty.More news: Australia's 2-year ODI losing streak ends in New Delhi
"He put on his Superman jersey", UNC coach Roy Williams said. "It was kind of one of those things". "He's a great player, and he definitely adds something for their team, but he wasn't our focus".
The Cavaliers certainly would have liked to have won back-to-back ACC Tournament titles, but it wasn't the end of the world.
The Seminoles didn't forget that loss and they responded by holding UVA to just 5-24 shooting from the 3-point line to upset the top seeded Cavaliers 69-59. "I think we'll be just fine". Coby White launched a contested long jumper against Tre Jones, but the ball bounced out as Nassir Little crashed the glass for a tip attempt as the horn sounded. And that was the takeaway for the Heels.
Either way, the Louisville Cardinals will be dancing again without question, and all the credit in the world should go to Coach Mack and the team for silencing the doubters and getting it done this season.
"When the shot left my hand, I could have swore it went down", Johnson said.More news: Johnny Manziel signs contract with AAF
And yet, Williamson's impact was something bordering on transcendent.
The Cavaliers have only lost three games all season - two of those to Duke - so it stands to reason they still have a chance at earning a No. 1 seed.
Zion Williamson's return to the Duke Blue Devils' lineup has been nothing short of awe-inspiring, his every whim cross-inspected by ball fans anxious an injury could derail the promise of a storied National Basketball Association career.
R.J. Barrett came down with a rebound off a missed UNC three at the other end and was fouled, but he missed both free throws with 13 seconds left to give the Tar Heels a chance to hit a game victor. His steal that led to a monster dunk was a turning point in the game. Both teams made it to the Final Four in Indianapolis.
Barrett (32 points) and Reddish (23 points) were both sensational, and the Blue Devils escaped with the win after Reddish hit his fifth three-pointer of the game with 0.8 seconds left.More news: Trump on Brexit: I'm Surprised at How Badly it Has All Gone