If you'd been asked to pick which North Carolina team was likely to lose its 2014 ACC Tournament opener, it's doubtful you would have guessed correctly.
Sure, anything can happen and all that, and tournaments are notorious for yielding unexpected results. But if there's a team that historically avoids defeat in its opening ACC Tournament games, it's North Carolina.
Or at least that used to be true.
Increasingly, the Tar Heels are prone to one and done appearances. Their 80-75 loss to Pittsburgh marked the fifth time in the past 15 years - since the century began - the Heels went out quickly. Pitt lowered the boom so fast in Friday's quarterfinals, Carolina fans never got to exercise the so-called home court advantage visitors from other states are eager to cite when playing at Greensboro or Charlotte.
UNC's defeat was sandwiched by an opening victory on Wednesday for Wake Forest, breaking a seven-game ACC Tournament losing streak for the Demon Deacons, and a win by N.C. State over Miami. Wake went on to get crushed by Pitt; the seven-seed Wolfpack proceeded to upset No. 2 Syracuse.
Duke has been best at surviving its ACC Tournament openers since 2000. The Blue Devils have dropped only two, although they came dangerously close to defeat in a 63-62, down-to-the-wire win against Clemson in Friday's quarterfinals.
N.C. State actually matched Carolina with wins in two-thirds of its recent debut efforts. At the other end of the spectrum, Wake has dropped 60 percent of its last 15 openers and 15 of its last 25.
The Wolfpack's win in its second game of the tournament extended one remarkable streak - every ACC Tournament semifinal for 61 years has seen at least one member of the Big Four make the field. Duke joined its Triangle neighbor in the semis for the third year in a row. That makes 56 of 61 seasons in which at least a pair of Big Four members were in the semifinals.
BIG FOUR FLUSHERS
|School||Total 1st-Try Losses||First-Try Losses, Since 2000||First-Try Losses, Last 25 Years|
|Duke||17||2 - 2007, 2013||5 - 1993, 1996, 1997, 2007, 2013|
|UNC||14||5 - 2000, 2002, 2004, 2010, 2014||7 - 1990, 1996, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2010, 2014|
|NC State||23||5 - 2001, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2011||10 -- 1990, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995,2001, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2011|
|Wake||31||9 -- 2001, 2004,2005, 2008,2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013||15 - 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013|