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Why Did The ACC Bomb In the NCAA Tournament?

[lead align=”default”]When the 2017 NCAA Tournament began, the Atlantic Coast Conference had high hopes. By the end of the first weekend, those dreams were left as a smoldering crater.[/lead]

Out of nine teams to make the field from the ACC, eight of them were gone by the end of the Round of 32. Had North Carolina not closed their game on a run, all nine would have been out.

A look at the opening week carnage:

ACC In The 2017 NCAA Tournament

[alert heading=”North Carolina Tar Heels” type=”alert-success” block=”false” close=”false”]Sweet Sixteen[/alert]

[alert heading=”Virginia Tech Hokies” type=”alert-error” block=”false” close=”false”]Lost in Round of 64 to Wisconsin[/alert]

[alert heading=”Wake Forest Demon Deacons” type=”alert-error” block=”false” close=”false”]Lost to Kansas State Wildcats in First Four[/alert]

[alert heading=”Virginia Cavaliers” type=”alert-error” block=”false” close=”false”]Lost to Florida in Round of 32[/alert]

[alert heading=”Duke Blue Devils” type=”alert-error” block=”false” close=”false”]Lost to South Carolina in Round of 32[/alert]

[alert heading=”Notre Dame Fighting Irish” type=”alert-error” block=”false” close=”false”]Lost to West Virginia in Round of 32[/alert]

[alert heading=”Florida State Seminoles” type=”alert-error” block=”false” close=”false”]Lost to Xavier in Round of 32[/alert]

[alert heading=”Miami Hurricanes” type=”alert-error” block=”false” close=”false”]Lost to Michigan State in Round of 64[/alert]

[alert heading=”Louisville Cardinals” type=”alert-error” block=”false” close=”false”]Lost to Michigan in Round of 32[/alert]

Woof. The obvious question people will want answered is why a conference that got more teams in the field than any other did so poorly. They may also want to know if the ACC was as good as it appeared during the season.

The ACC did have a great regular season. When considering how many teams they had with superior records and their record against competition from other conferences, they did well. In terms of the overall conference RPIs, the ACC was number one through Selection Sunday.

What happened to the Atlantic Coast Conference was a combination of misfortune and ill preparation. There is no excuse for it, as no conference should have eight of nine teams go down in their first weekend.

It’s one thing for a team like Wake Forest to wash out in the First Four. It is quite another for the ACC’s top-shelf teams like Louisville and Duke to lose to inferior seeds early. Some would say that if the ACC was really as good as people say it is, this never should happen. At the same time, each of these teams was responsible for their own destiny. Duke can’t be responsible for Louisville, Virginia, Notre Dame, and the others losing. However, the combination of the eight of them all going down within a short span is very bad optically.

There’s no one answer for why the ACC did so poorly in March Madness this year. Duke had to play what amounted to a road game against South Carolina, but they should have won that game even if it were played on the Klingon homeworld. Louisville played one of the hottest teams in the tournament, but otherwise should have won. Aside from that, none of the losses were that surprising, and maybe that says the Atlantic Coast Conference is not a superleague after all. it’s also possible that they just fell apart after a strong regular season. You can give them credit for what they achieved prior to the tournament while acknowledging that the Big Dance was a disaster. Whether they were unlucky or just sucked, the ACC will want to forget this.

At this point, North Carolina holds up the ACC’s hopes, and they could still go a long way.

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