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Is It a Down Year for the ACC?

The conventional wisdom coming out of the first weekend of the NCAA's is that the ACC screwed the pooch. After all, only one team made it to the Sweet Sixteen. But to be honest, I don't consider this a bad showing, and can't really understand why anyone would. To wit:

  • Georgia Tech, a tenth seed, lost as expected to 7th-seed UNLV. In fact, the Yellow Jackets played them tighter than the Running Rebs' next opponent, marquee Big 10 school Wisconsin.
  • Boston College a seventh seed, won their opening round against Texas Tech as expected, and then played Georgetown hard, leading most of he game and still tied with eight minutes to play, before the superior talented Hoyas pulled away. No shame in that.
  • Duke was the only ACC seed to be upset in the opening round, and even they lost on a shot with five seconds remaining to an 11th seed that went on to push 3rd-seed Pitt into overtime.
  • Virginia Tech never played particularly well, but as a 5th seed bowed out at the appropriate time, beating Illinois and losing to 4th-seed Southern Illinois.
  • Maryland and Virginia should both by seed still be contending. But they were also both four seeds who lost to five seeds in games that went down to the wire. You can't really consider a five over a four matchup to be any more an upset than a nine over an eight. Butler and Tennessee are both strong teams, and there's nothing embarassing about how those games ended.
  • North Carolina won both of its games, and showed the perserverance to win a couple more.
Meanwhile, look at what the ACC didn't do. Their second-seeded team didn't lose by six to a seventh seed. They didn't need overtime to squeak past a ninth seed as number one, they didn't fail to break sixty against a seventh seed, and they didn't exit the tournament at the hands of Vanderbilt. They did what anyone watching the conference all season long expected. And I don't have a problem with that.