“The ACC Has Taken Over March Madness”
Simply put, the domination of the ACC in the 2016 tournament should carry over into this years tournament. In 2016, seven ACC teams qualified for the tournament, including two No. 1 seeds. Six made it to the Sweet Sixteen, four made it to the Elite Eight, and two made it to the Final Four. This does not even include Louisville, one of the strongest teams in the country, that sat out the postseason due to a recruiting scandal.
When perennial powerhouse Maryland left the ACC in 2012, and joined the Big Ten conference, it seemed as if the ACC was going to enter a period of decline. Surprisingly, the opposite occurred as Louisville’s 2012 entry heralded the surge of ACC basketball. The University of Notre Dame, The University of Pittsburgh, and Syracuse University followed in 2013. The ACC now boasts fifteen competitive teams in two divisions.
Prior to the start of the ACC schedule, the preseason rankings for the ACC schools has already drastically changed. In addition, in the top 25 national rankings, No. 5 Duke remained the highest ranked ACC school, but the order changed for the other schools. Duke was followed by No. 6 Louisville, No. 10. North Carolina, No. 12 Virginia, and No. 20 Florida State. Syracuse went from being ranked No. 18, to being unranked. Last week, ACC play began, and national rankings and pre-ACC rankings have already been turned upside down.
The following has already occurred:
- No. 12 Virginia defeated No. 6 Louisville 61-53
- Georgia Tech defeated No. 10 North Carolina 75-63
- Virginia Tech defeated No. 5 Duke 89-75
- No. 20 Florida State defeated No. 12 Virginia 60-58
- Miami defeated North Carolina State 81-63
- Boston College defeated Syracuse 96-81
As of January 2, 2017, no less than seven ACC teams sit in the top 25 rankings:
- No. 8 Duke
- No. 9 Louisville
- No. 11 Virginia
- No. 12 Florida State
- No. 14 North Carolina
- No. 21 Virginia Tech
- No 23. Notre Dame
This year, the ACC will still remain as the best basketball conference in college basketball.
Recent changes reflect not only the dominance of the ACC, but the parity within it. On any given day, any team in the ACC can not only beat one another, they can beat any team in the country. The ACC already set an NCAA record by having six teams reach the Sweet Sixteen and four in the Elite Eight. This season, I don’t see a reason as to why this feat can’t be exceeded. As this upset-filled season progresses, expect in depth analysis of every ACC team, and their coaches and players on their road to the final four.
What do you think of the ACC right now? Comment your thoughts below!
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