Duke rolled North Carolina 75-58 to win the ACC. The Blue Devils shot the ball well, hitting 50 percent from the field and draining nine treys to the Tar Heels' two. Nolan Smith led the way with 20 points. This was a big win for Duke. They're a program that defines itself by not just winning a lot of games, but winning championships and hanging banners. The ACC regular season title got away from them, and it will take some breaks to get to a Final Four this year. Winning the tournament means Coach K's 2011 edition has at least made its mark on the school's overstuffed trophy case.
Kentucky, another program that settles only for championships, took the SEC tournament, defeating regular season champ Florida. Like Duke-UNC, this one was also decisive, 70-54. The Wildcats scored 24 points on free throws to Florida's 3, and it was a 29-8 disparity in attempts.
Ohio State took care of its business with a 71-60 win over Penn State, a game you expect to see settle a football title in the Big Ten, but not in basketball. The Buckeyes dominated in the backcourt, with William Buford and Jon Diebler combining for 33 points. Penn State's Talor Battle hit for 24, but his running mate Tim Frazier was a non-factor. Ohio State joins Kansas as the only two #1 seeds to win major conference tournaments.
Bubble teams everywhere breathed a sigh of relief when Richmond ended Dayton's Cinderella run from the #9 seed and beat the Flyers 67-54. Kevin Anderson scored 23, ending a solid tournament run for the point guard and the Spiders hit ten treys as a team. They likely didn't need the win to get a bid, but now there's no doubt.
Congrats to all the tournament champions. Now let's settle in and watch the big brackets unveiled.
Dan Flaherty is the editor of the Sports Notebook Family, published through the Real Clear Sports Blog Network, offering daily commentary on March Madness and baseball's spring training.