Monday, March 21, 2011

ACC proves its point with 3 Sweet 16 teams

Go ahead, John Swofford.

Puff out your chest a bit today.

No. 10 regional seed Florida State’s 71-57 dismantling of No. 2 seed Notre Dame on Sunday night gave the ACC three teams in the regional semifinal round of the NCAA tournament.

North Carolina, a No. 2 seed, was the first to advance to the Sweet 16 with a 86-83 defeat of Washington on Sunday afternoon in Charlotte. Later at Time Warner Cable Arena, No. 1 seed Duke escaped to the Sweet 16 with a 73-71 win when Michigan’s Darius Morris missed a runner with two seconds remaining.

So the ACC has been the biggest winner on the opening weekend of the NCAA tournament with the possible exception of the city of Richmond, Va., which has the Richmond Spiders and Virginia Commonwealth in the Sweet 16.

No other conference has more than two teams in the Sweet 16. The Big East, which had an outstanding regular season and put 11 teams in the tournament, has flopped. Nine Big East teams have been eliminated, including No. 1 seed Pittsburgh, which fell in a Saturday night stunner against Butler.

The ACC entered this NCAA tournament with something to prove. Late in the season, numerous ACC coaches said teams in the conference had improved after struggling to nonconference results that doomed the ACC to a No. 5 finish in the Ratings Percentage Index, behind even the Mountain West.

But there was no way for ACC teams to prove they had made progress late in the regular season because they played almost exclusively against one another beginning in January. Now they have proven their conference’s mettle.

Florida State is in its first Sweet 16 since 1993. The ACC is 7-1 overall in the NCAA tournament. The conference’s only loss, by Clemson against West Virginia, came after the Tigers were dealt the cruelest schedule in the tournament.

After defeating Alabama-Birmingham in Tuesday’s late “first four” game, Clemson was forced to play West Virginia just after noon Thursday. The Tigers lost, but nobody else in the ACC has.

Florida State punctuated a successful weekend with a thumping of Big East heavyweight Notre Dame when the Seminoles’ best player, Chris Singleton, still was limited to a minor role because he’s recovering from foot surgery.

Singleton should be ready to contribute more against Virginia Commonwealth in the Sweet 16.

And Swofford, the ACC commissioner, should be smiling today.

Ken Tysiac


Anonymous said...

How bout that ACC. Big East fans are speechless right now.

Anonymous said...

Damn straight.

Hey Tysiac, you go into great detail illustrating Duke's "escape" (they led the entire game), yet I hear not a whisper of UNC's GIFT from the refs...stealing a second off the clock to force UW to jack up a prayer at the buzzer.

Your bias, like the CO in general, is suffocating.

Anonymous said...

2:14 AM Anon,
The refs weren't just bad in Carolina's favor. All you had to do was look at the goal-tend against Washington that wasn't called in the first half.

I wish the Huskies had the extra .5 ~ 1 second so they could have missed a more legit shot. Either way, I was happy Duke won today, but I hope they lose to Arizona next week. Would love for West coast teams to play better again.

Anonymous said...

Duke is bushleague. Everyone knows. I don't give a flip about last year, Coach K, and his d-bag players.

What a crap job against a mediocre Michigan team and their middle school 1-3-1 zone. Ridiculous.

Duke fans speak of Final Fours and national titles, but the Heels have them beat in each category. Protected by the refs, defended by the media, Duke does manage to field a consistently strong team. Still, they will soon go down. Indeed, the Heels will reign supreme.

The Big East is even more bush than Duke's fans (if that's even possible).

Wish Tejas had beaten Arizona. Duke (again) has a gift-wrapped path to the Final Four. Let's hope they find a way to F it up.

Let's go Tar Heels.

Rhyno said...

Love to see the media darlings (the Big Least) get their due, especially with ACC's 3rd place team BLOWING OUT one of the Big Least's "best."

Anonymous said...

@Anon 7:01am - do you really believe your nonsensical ramblings?



The ACC is and will always be head and shoulders above the rest. The media wants a new champ, so they back the underdogs from up north, yet when it comes time to produce, those teams fall apart in the pressure. The ACC is leaps and bounds above the next conference. NEXT!!!!

Anonymous said...

Wow. Let's not get carried away. Florida State has been impressive, but UNC and Duke were fortunate to survive against mediocre opponents in quasi-home games. Clemson won a play-in game against a team that should have been in the NIT. Speaking of which, Va. Tech and B.C. already lost home games in that tourney.
Let's not make broad statements based on a couple of games. The ACC was not a strong conference this year.

Anonymous said...

Nothing new. ACC stock is undervalued every year. The ESPN hype machine inflates the yankee-based big east every year.

MichaelProcton said...

Yes, 7:01, definitely gift-wrapped for the Devils. A team like Kansas surely wishes they had the chance to get such an easy path through a #5 and then a #2 or a #3 rather than the mighty #10, #11, and #12 seeds left in their region.

Mark from Monroe said...

Well I'll be dogged. Charles Barkley was right. He was calling them the "Big Least" beginning on Thursday. And you could tell it was bugging the other guys sitting at the desk because that wasn't supposed to be the script.

Anonymous said...

A hole fan whining about a "gift-wrapped" path? Have fun against an 11 seed with 14 losses in the Sweet Sixteen moron. At least Ohio State will embarrass you in the next round.

Anyone notice that when the Heels win, it's by 1-3 points...but when they lose they get BLOWN out of the gym? (Illinois, GT, Duke...)

Bobby said...

Can someone tell me a sport where the Big East is better than the ACC? Rowing, maybe? I'm totally serious about that, by the way. Someone is gonna throw men's lacrosse out because of Syracuse, but the ACC has more good teams in that too.

NC and SC writers and media, don't talk about the Big East. It gets enough ink and TV time from the NY media. It isn't a good league and doesn't deserve to be talked about. It's the WAC with a great PR firm.

Anonymous said...

@3:41 am, don't forget about Henson's goaltend at the buzzer that the refs also missed.

@9:12 am, "quasi-home games"? If you call Duke playing in Chapel Hill South with 20,000 holes rooting against them a "home" game....

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:25pm... both Duke and UNC won yesterday by only 2-3 points. And both have proven this season that they can beat each other and plenty of other teams by double digits. You must not have watched that many UNC games.

Anon 2:30pm, agreed it should have been a goal-tending call, but it wouldn't have mattered anyway because it was only a 2 pointer.

But it does make me laugh to see Dook fans cry about the refs helping out UNC when dook gets just as much help from the refs as anyone else.

Well said, Anon 3:41am.

Bobby said...

Anon 2:30 PM, watch it again, it wasn't a goaltend. Even if it was it was a two, Carolina won by three. Math is fun.

Anonymous said...

Will be interesting to see Holes/Dook play on a legit neutral court as opposed to the cushy (Holes) and hostile (Dook) atmospheres they faced last weekend.

Anonymous said...

Holes yes, but wouldn't call Dook's matchup in Arizona/SDSU's backyards "neutral".

It's allright though, Duke plowed through Baylor in Houston, Butler in Indy, and Holes fans galore 2 weeks ago and last weekend. They can handle this.