Monday, March 19, 2007

ACC fails to make case for greatness

After just one of the three weekends of NCAA tournament play completed, one of the biggest losers already is obvious.

All season long, ACC coaches talked about how their conference was the best in the nation. The inability of highly ranked North Carolina to separate from the pack in the ACC standings supported their argument.

So did the ACC’s high RPI, which remains No. 2 (behind the SEC’s) according to But shortly before the NCAA tournament started, North Carolina coach Roy Williams said the conference needed to prove its strength in March.

That didn’t happen.

North Carolina, the top seed in the East Regional, is the lone representative to reach the Sweet 16 among the ACC’s seven NCAA tournament selections. ACC teams are 3-4 against “mid-major” opponents in the tournament.

The Big Ten is hurting, too, as top-seeded Ohio State needed an overtime win over Xavier to become that conference’s only team left in the tournament. (The Pac-10 and SEC lead all conferences with three Sweet 16 teams apiece).

But the Big Ten wasn’t as celebrated as the ACC heading into this postseason. And after the ACC failed to get any team into a regional final in 2006 in its first season as a 12-member conference, it will take a national championship run by North Carolina to mute talk over the next two weeks that expansion has softened the ACC in basketball.

That might be unfair. Coaches often complain that because the NCAA tournament has become so popular, an entire season’s worth of accomplishments is forgotten if a team stumbles in March.

But there’s no way to change that. Like it or not, the ACC probably won’t be remembered as the nation’s best conference this season because of its failures over a four-day period in the NCAA tournament.

– Ken Tysiac


Anonymous said...

Unfortunatley, a lot of the ACC teams peaked earlier in the season.

Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech in particular were hard to watch in the NCAA's.

Ironically, Florida State and NC State were playing some of the conference's best basketkball at the end of the year and have continued to play well in the NIT.

Anonymous said...

Of Course this won't stop Duke Vitale and rest of the ESPN led media from proclaiming the ACC as the greatest conference next year.

Seeding is a self fulfilling prophecy. The higher the seed the easier the path. How ludicrous to have Duke as a 6 seed this year.

Additionally, ACC teams are seeded to play the entire tournament in the state of North Carolina.

ESPN is the voice of college basketball and as long as they continue their biased coverage, things won't change.