The ACC and NCAA tournaments came and went without much local fanfare.
Maybe the NBA playoffs, which start Saturday, will provide redemption for some of the 23 players who called Tobacco Road home.
All eight Eastern Conference teams feature at least one Duke or North Carolina player, and just like then, theyre in each others way. All four first-round matchups feature Blue Devils and Tar Heels on opposite sides of center court.
Among the more interesting reunions: The Miami-Milwaukee series has a bit of everything. It pits rivals vs. rivals and, when Shane Battier tries to lock down Mike Dunleavy or J.J. Redick, teammate against teammate. Tyler Hansbrough and Dahntay Jones wore different shades of blue in college, were NBA teammates for three seasons and now clash again when Indiana takes on Atlanta.
Two of the four Western Conference series follow suit and a third, Golden State vs. Denver, at times could look like a summer day at the Smith Center, with Ty Lawson against trying to break Harrison Barnes.
The only series without a Triangle tie is Oklahoma City vs. Houston.
BY THE NUMBERS
40 Ex-Duke star Grant Hills age. Not only is he the oldest NCAA champion in the playoffs but also the oldest player.
14 Playoff teams (out of 16) with a UNC or Duke player.
11 NCAA champions from Duke and UNC are in the mix.
10 Ex-Blue Devils in playoffs.
9 Ex-Tar Heels in playoffs.
4 Ex-Demon Deacons in playoffs.
4 NBA titles for Wake Forests Tim Duncan, the Big Fours active ring leader. Dukes Shane Battier has one. Everybody else is hunting for their first.
4 Duke stars from the 2001 title team: Battier, Carlos Boozer, Mike Dunleavy and Chris Duhon.
4 UNC stars from the 2009 title team: Ty Lawson, Tyler Hansbrough, Danny Green and Ed Davis.
2 NCAA titles for Hill, tied with Joakim Noah, Al Horford and Corey Brewer for most among playoff participants.
BIG FOUR TIES
Here is a look at how the areas 23 players have fared in the NBA playoffs (* denotes NCAA champion):
|No. 1 Miami vs. No. 8 Milwaukee|
|Milwaukee||Ish Smith||Wake Forest||0||6||0.7|
|No. 2 New York vs. No. 7 Boston|
|New York||*Raymond Felton||UNC||0||9||11.7|
|No. 3 Indiana vs. No. 6 Atlanta|
|Atlanta||Jeff Teague||Wake Forest||0||23||8.4|
|No. 4 Brooklyn vs. No. 5 Chicago|
|No. 2 San Antonio vs. No. 7 L.A. Lakers|
|San Antonio||Tim Duncan||Wake Forest||4||190||22.3|
|San Antonio||*Danny Green||UNC||0||18||6.0|
|L.A. Lakers||Antawn Jamison||UNC||0||42||18.1|
|L.A. Lakers||*Chris Duhon||Duke||0||27||4.0|
|No. 3 Denver vs. No. 6 Golden State|
|Golden State||Harrison Barnes||UNC||0||0||0.0|
|No. 4 L.A. Clippers vs. No. 5 Memphis|
|L.A. Clippers||*Grant Hill||Duke||0||38||13.7|
|L.A. Clippers||Chris Paul||Wake Forest||0||34||20.5|
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