The ACC on an upswing? Not really…

Six teams from the ACC in the NCAA Tournament is not good enough!

Six teams from the ACC in the NCAA Tournament isn’t good enough!

One of the things that I have been reading as March Madness comes into play is “the Atlantic Coast Conference on an upswing”. While if you look at the present time ACC you could say that the sentence might be right, with eight teams playing in the two major post season tournaments, a half dozen in the Big Dance and a pair in the NIT. However, if you dig a bit more into the discussion, many other conferences have six teams in the NCAA Tournament, but most of all… the old school conference only had four teams in, with newbies Syracuse and Pittsburgh being the other two.

So, while the answer for the 2013-2014 season is that the outlook looks good, the reality is that it looks good because the ACC Commissioner went to the right schools to shore up the  basketball side of things. Next season, with the addition of Louisville, the ACC will be once again step up in the college hardwoods landscape, but for an old school blogger like me it’s a sour-sweet emotion, as once again it will be a newbie program to build up the conference and not some of the original ones stepping up.

In all the Atlantic Coast Conference has a number one seed in Virginia (East), who won both the conference regular season as well as the post season tournament, defeating Duke (Mid-West), who has a three seed in the Big Dance. Syracuse (South) is the only other high seed in the tourney, being a three seed as well. The others are North Carolina (East) as a six seed, Pittsburgh (East) as a nine and N.C. State (Mid-West), who had to play on Tuesday, as a 12. One thing I found interesting is the fact that with six programs the selection committee did not put at least one team in each region. The again, if you listen to most main stream shows there is something to whine about when it comes to this year’s seeding and aligning.

Today  has three games from the conference, with Pittsburgh (25 & 9) going against Colorado (23 & 11), tip off at 1:40 p.m. EST on TBS, being a 6.5 points favorite, even if they are the lower seed. The other is Syracuse (27 & 5) going against Western Michigan, starting at about 2:45 p.m. EST and being televised on CBS, with the Orange being a baker’s dozen favorite in this one. And the last one to tip off, at about 7:20 p.m. EST shown on TNT, it’s N.C. State (22 & 13) taking on St. Louis (26 & 6), with the Wolfpack being a 5 points underdog.

Tomorrow the three games involving ACC squads will begin with Duke (26 & 8) playing Mercer (26 & 8), tipping off at 12:15 p.m. EST on CBS as a 13 points favorite. Then having the other Tobacco Road program as North Carolina (23 & 9) versus Providence (23 & 11), starting time approximately at 7:20 on TNT, with the Heels being a four points favorite. Lastly, the top seed of the conference, Virginia (28 & 6), playing against Coast Carolina (21 & 12), starting around 9:25 p.m. EST on TBS, with the ACC squad being a 21.5 points favorite.

Meaning that if the lines hold five out of six of the teams would go into the next round. And with many of the so-called experts thinking that N.C. State could make some noise in their game and get past St. Louis, it would mean, if everything else held, the ACC could have more than 1/6 of the teams in the second round. But, as the old saying goes “that is why they play the game”, so before we put the every team into the Saturday & Sunday games we need to watch today and tomorrow.

So, we could conclude that if the ACC was to bring five or six teams to the Round of 32 then it could be said that the conference is on an upswing. But it will also have to be said that it is thanks to the newcomers. However if N.C. State was to go down, and another one of the favorite (especially if not SU or Pitt) was to falter, then to say that the conference is coming back around would be premature in my opinion. Plus, however it goes in the tournament this first and second round, if the ACC wants to lay claim to the best conference in hardwoods more teams need to step up. And that, for someone like me who has been watching college basketball for over a third of a century, is a very sad thing!

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