clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Is the ACC About to Fall Flat?

Dave Sez brings up a concern that's been bugging me as well:

Seven teams for the ACC could be a trap. Only two, UNC and UVA, are seeded to reach the Sweet Sixteen, and we all know that Virginia isn't really good enough to warrant a 4-seed. And outside of Carolina, none of the teams can claim they are going in on a high note. I really hope it's not a first-weekend bloodbath.

(Technically, Maryland's a four seed, too. But sharing a pod with Davidson and Butler is pretty ugly, nonetheless.)

Let's take a look at the ACC's magnificent seven:

  • Four lost their final game of the regular season - BC, Duke, Virginia and Virginia Tech - and the latter two to teams that didn't make the field.
  • Four exited the ACC tournament in their first game - Duke, Georgia Tech, Maryland and Virginia.
  • Five of the ACC's first round opponents are mid-majors. Putting aside 16th seed Eastern Kentucky, the other four have generated quite a bit of press as upset contenders - Albany, Davidson, Virginia Commenwealth and UNLV.
  • The two big six opponents are the national runner-up from two years ago (Illinois) and the winningest coach in D-1 basketball (Texas Tech).
All that being said, not everything is working against the ACC. The opening round sites are pretty advantageous. UNC, of course, will have the home crowd, but BC gets an ACC crowd in Winston Salem (and we all know what happened to Bobby Knight last time he was at Lawrence Joel), Maryland can outtravel most of the teams in Buffalo (and boo Duke while they're there), Georgia Tech should get the underdog support in Chicago, and the two Virginia schools can get a strong presence in Columbus. Whether the Hokies and the Hoos can support one another remains to be seen, of course.

The other thing to note is that despite the poor play I saw in Tampa, I saw even worse on display in many of the other conference tournaments. The Pac-10 was unwatchably bad, the Big East games a comedy of errors, and the Big Televen broke the game feed with its poor place. (Literally. OSU-Wisconsin didn't have an audio feed for large chunks of the game.) There are only six to eight good teams this year, and the rest is anybody's game to win. So the risk of an ACC faceplant is real, but no more probable than the ones coming to every other major conference. Although the Big 12 is looking pretty good as the year goes on...