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Can ACC Basketball Stop Its Decline This Season?

ACC basketball

Over the past five years, ACC basketball has taken a step back on the national stage. While major retirements of coaches like Jim Boeheim and Mike Krzyzewski have been in the headlines, the more disappointing aspect of the conference has been postseason success.

That statement might seem a bit odd. In the last few seasons, Miami made a Final Four run, Duke and UNC matched up in the semifinals, and Virginia won a championship. While the top of the conference hasn’t missed a beat, the depth has been an issue.

The ACC has put just five teams in the NCAA tournament in each of the past two years. That’s a low number for the conference, which has 15 teams. In fact, the ACC has had the same or less representation in March Madness every year from 2017, on a slow decline from nine teams to five.

Historically great programs having slumps is a big part of the issue. Syracuse and Louisville have both struggled as of late. Even teams that have been solid in recent decades, like Pittsburgh and NC State, have made just a few tournament appearances lately. 

So is the conference ready for a rebound? According to ESPN Bracketologist Joe Lunardi, the answer is no. In his most recent bracket prediction for next season, he predicts the ACC will put just five teams in the tournament for the third straight year: Duke, North Carolina, Clemson, Virginia, and Miami.

That prediction might be overly pessimistic. Pitt and NC State are each coming off tournament appearances and have retained good rosters, while Wake Forest is on the rise. If all the young talent Syracuse has can mesh, then the Orange might make a postseason run as well. 

While there’s clearly a chance for ACC basketball to improve this season, the status quo is a top-heavy conference that isn’t as deep as it used to be.

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The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.


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