Considering I’m writing this article summarizing the ACC’s performance in the NCAAs and the tournament is not yet over is probably not a good sign. This means for the 2nd straight year the ACC didn’t put a team into the Final 4. That is basically like forgetting to do the last page of the final exam, and losing a quarter of a points. So what grade does the ACC get?
We already gave Duke an F and Virginia D. They didn’t make it out of the 2nd round. No excuse for Duke losing to Lehigh, and UVA played to their seeding as a 10 but were completely embarrassed by Florida.
That left Florida State, NC State, and North Carolina.
Florida State – C
The Noles won their 2nd round game, but got beat by a physical Cincinnati team that out Florida Stated Florida State. The Bearcats were disruptive on defense and harassed the Noles all night. For a senior laden veteran team I expected more from the Seminoles in this tournament.
North Carolina State – A
The Wolfpack came from the 11 seed, beat San Diego State and beat Georgetown to get to the Sweet 16. N.C. State had Kansas on the ropes but a 28% shooting night did them in. Still in a disappointing tournament for the ACC, NC State was the one team that really exceeded expectations.
North Carolina – B-
With the loss of Kendall Marshall the tournament changed for North Carolina. They survived a Sweet 16 OT game with Ohio, but couldn’t overcome a relentless Kansas team in the following round. Had the Tar Heels won I would have given them an A just making it to the Final 4. Stilman White filled in admirably for Marshall, but Harrison Barnes never became the player UNC needed with Marshall down. He played OK against Kansas, but not great. Also North Carolina’s big men were beat repeatedly on the boards late in their Elite 8 game. A credible run, but a Final 4 was the only way to get an A.
Overall ACC – C (6-5)
Duke’s truly disappointing performance coupled with no Final 4 team and the ACC has to consider this NCAA tournament as a big letdown, that I can’t give higher than a C. Marshall’s injury made even North Carolina getting to the Elite 8 more like a relief than a celebration. NC State saved the ACC from a forgettable tournament with a surprising Sweet 16 appearance.