The ACC and NCAA Tournament With All Sports Discussion
The ACC and NCAA Tournament are interconnected. This conference has more teams in the field this year than any other, and it’s not unusual for the ACC to put teams in the Final Four.
With it being such an important conference in the 2017 NCAA Tournament, we turned to some of the people who know it best.
Before The Bracket Yard existed, in a previous blog existence, All Sports Discussion was a friend, and they still are today to this new(er) website. Occasionally, we hop on their podcast as well. These guys know the Atlantic Coast Conference and college sports inside and out. We asked Matthew and Jeff about the ACC’s positioning in the 2017 NCAA Tournament and more.
The ACC and NCAA Tournament
The Bracket Yard
Throughout the last couple months, it’s become clear to me that the ACC is the best conference in college basketball this season. As a result, the conventional wisdom was that the ACC would get about ten teams in the tournament this year; they ended up with nine. Do you agree that the ACC is college hoops’ best conference? Did things turn out about the way you expected with the selection?
The ACC is absolutely the best conference in the nation. In past years, the conference was basically “North Carolina/Duke” so it had high top-level teams, but the middle-of-the-pack or lower teams did not perform well outside or inside the conference. The ACC still has the top-elite teams that can make the Elite Eight or Final Four, including North Carolina, Florida State, Notre Dame, and Louisville. But this year, the middle-of-the-pack and the lower level ACC teams are performing well (and and this trend has been building for a while) and that overall picture tells a lot about the strength of a conference.
Why is the ACC the best conference in the nation? We already know the ACC has best college basketball players in the country according to multiple recruiting services. But look at the coaching in this league (find me a conference who is deeper at head coach): North Carolina (Roy Williams), Duke (Coach K), Louisville (Rick Pitino), Notre Dame (Mike Brey), Florida State (Leonard Hamilton), Virginia (Tony Bennett), Jim Larranaga (Miami), Buzz Williams (Virginia Tech), and Danny Manning (Wake Forest). Every ACC team is in a battle every time on the road (the home court advantage for most ACC teams is really good).
Let’s look at Pittsburgh (seeded 14th in the ACC tournament) – before the conference season began, the Panthers defeated Maryland (the Big 10’s #2 team, but was #1 for most of the year) and Marquette – and then had a quick win over Virginia as it entered the ACC conference season. While the Panthers (again, a bottom-feeder in ACC play) did not have a good conference season overall, they gave Duke and North Carolina everything they could handle.
Yes, the ACC was the best conference and it wasn’t particularly close. Only Boston College is a team that I would consider poor. Duke ended the season with the country’s most top 50 RPI wins and placed 5th in the league. UNC destroyed a quality OOC field in Maui, and Pitt, near the bottom of the league, had wins over Marquette and Maryland. Clemson was 3-0 against the SEC, including a road win at South Carolina.