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ACC Basketball Deserves More Respect

ACC basketball

ACC basketball has been on a decline recently. There’s no denying it. Historic coaches like Jim Boeheim, Mike Krzyzewski, and Roy Williams have retired. That’s just part of the issue. Every year since 2017, the conference has either had the same or fewer teams get an NCAA Tournament bit compared to the year before. Here’s how the numbers have looked: 

2017: 9

2018: 9

2019: 7

2021: 7

2022: 5

2023: 5

Throughout all those years, it’s been hard to say that the ACC got snubbed. However, this year could be a different story.

In ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi’s most recent prediction of the March Madness slate, there are just three ACC teams: North Carolina as a one seed, Duke as a four seed, and Clemson as a six seed. That’s it. There’s not even an ACC team in either the first four out group or next four out group.

The conference has been on the downhill, yes. But three teams? That’s too low. It’s tied with the Pac-12 for the lowest of any Power 6 conference. Keep in mind that the Big 12 leads the pack with nine bids and even the Mountain West has five bids, almost double the ACC. 

For some reason, ACC basketball is getting the short end of the stick on the bubble. Virginia, for example, has a 16-5 record, a 7-3 conference record, a Quad 1 win, and a 4-2 Quad 2 record. Wake Forest is 13-7, a winning conference record, and not a single bad loss. Virginia Tech is 13-8 with two Quad 1 wins. None of these teams are even in the next four out, let alone the actual bracket.

Let’s look at some of the teams that are supposedly tournament-worthy right now. Michigan State is 13-8 with a loss to James Madison. That earns them a projected eight seed. Texas is 14-7 (the same record as Syracuse) and 3-5 in the Big 12, good for a bye and a ten seed. Seton Hall is 14-8 and still is projected to make it. 

This isn’t just a few cherry-picked examples. Not a single ACC bubble team is projected to make the tournament. Several teams with similar or worse resumes are. The only way to defend this is to say that the ACC is just a weaker conference, so those resumes aren’t as strong. Well, the conference evenly split 7-7 with the SEC in their first conference showdown this year, so it can’t be that drastic of a difference. Plus, the ACC has a few of the best teams in the country in UNC and Duke. 

ACC basketball is weaker this year, but three teams? That’s just too low.

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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