Day 3 – NCAA Tournament – #ACC is Shining – and Here is Why This is Happening



Let’s get right to it – Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) institutions are 10-1 going into Sunday’s games.  North Carolina, Duke, Miami, and Virginia are headed to the Sweet 16.  Syracuse and Notre Dame play for that same opportunity today.  If all six make it, the ACC conference as a whole will have more institutions in the Sweet 16 than the SEC, Pac-12, Big 10, and Big-12 combined.   Let’s say that again –  If all six make it, the ACC conference as a whole will have more institutions in the Sweet 16 than the SEC, Pac-12, Big 10, and Big-12 combined.  FWIW, I like Syracuse and Notre Dame to advance to the Sweet 16.

Let me also remind you that Louisville is not playing in the NCAA Tournament due to a self-imposed ban (which @TalkinACCSports and I both disagree with).  We feel that Louisville had a very good chance to get to the 2nd weekend of the NCAA tournament.  The Cardinals defense – and their senior guards positioned the team well to advance in the tournament.

You might ask – why is this happening?  Why is the ACC performing so well on the big stage?  Well, for three reasons:  1.) Matchups, 2.) The variety of styles of play in the ACC, and 3.) Coaching.

First, media analysts are correct that match-ups play a huge part in these games.  ACC teams always have some of the highest rated recruiting classes in the country.  You can count on North Carolina, Duke, Louisville, and even Miami now to have the talent to compete with anyone in the country.

Second, ACC teams are very prepared for NCAA tournament play because of the variety of defenses and offenses that they play against in the conference.  For example, you gotta face:

  • The all-out attack of the guards from Virginia Tech;

  • The length of a Florida State (they have huge players all over the floor);

  • The McDonald’s All-Americans on North Carolina and Duke;

  • The wisdom of the University of Miami (look – I’ve told @TalkinACCSports this for a while now, but it seems like every player on the Hurricanes is 26);

  • The defensively efficient University of Virginia (and yes, they now know a thing or two on offense);

  • The unsettling matchup zone of Syracuse; and

  • The offensively efficient (deathly offensively efficient – fantastic offensive sets) Notre Dame Fighting Irish (and sometimes, Pittsburgh Panthers).

I could go on here for a while (almost every night here in the ACC, you have a battle) – but you get it.  Facing a variety of styles makes you ready to play a variety of opponents at NCAA tournament time.

Third, look at some of these coaches you have to play against in the ACC:

  • Mike Krzyzewski, Duke

  • Roy Williams, North Carolina

  • Rick Pitino, Louisville

  • Mike Brey, Notre Dame
  • Jim Boeheim, Syracuse

  • Tony Bennett, Virginia

  • Jim Larranaga, Miami

  • Buzz Williams, Virginia Tech

  • Leonard Hamilton, Florida State

  • Jamie Dixon, Pittsburgh

  • Mark Gottfried, North Carolina State

  • Brad Brownell, Clemson

Matchups, variety of styles, and coaching all show why ACC institutions are advancing in the NCAA tournament.  We’re getting close to the ACC that @TalkinACCSports and I knew when we were younger – we saw shades of that this year when every team (aside from Boston College) knew they were in for a tough game when they had to play on the road.  NCAA tournament success is following here at least for the first weekend.  Jeff and I both think the next year might be the year when you see a double digit NCAA bid count for ACC institutions.

Enjoy the rest of the games – and have a great weekend!!

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