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The ACC - What Happened?

Barry Jacobs has an article up at WRAL about how and why the ACC had such a dismal tournament. In our opinion, there are some factors which basketball people aren't as willing to discuss.The obvious immediate problem is that UNC and to a larger extent Duke fell short of the standards they have set over the last several decades. They've carried the water for the rest of the conference and have to a large extent been responsible for the collective reputation. Losing to VCU hurt, but it's not like they were a horrible team. They're a very good team. Collapsing against Georgetown was, for the conference, painful.

As far as the rest of the league goes, B.C. gets a pass because they accomplished a great deal after kicking two guys off the team late in the season, including their starting center. There's only so much you can do in that situation, particularly when you come up against a 7-2 center in your first game.

Virginia gets limited immunity because they basically had no meaningful frontcourt and weren't going very far anyway. And at least they were still in the game when it ended.

The real problems come up with Virginia Tech, Maryland, and Georgia Tech. With a solid backcourt and a center who should have been better, along with athletic forwards, there's no reason why Virginia Tech couldn't have gone farther. Southern Illinois is a remarkable team, a great defensive team and a tough draw, but still. They could have done better. They certainly could have played them closer.

Maryland lost to Butler after struggling for most of the previous game with Davidson. They almost certainly would have lost to Florida although they matched up with them better than some. This was the hottest team in the conference going into the tournament. Yet they couldn't get past Butler? Butler is a really tough team, and a very disciplined team, but they didn't hold Maryland to 46.7% from the line. Maryland did that all on their own.

Tech lost to UNLV, which only hit 19-60 from the floor and like Duke left after one game. Unlike Duke, Tech had a full roster of talented athletes and should have been able to manage Vegas. If they had played to their potential they would have at least made the regional finals, because Wisconsin, despite their high seed, was almost certain to be an early out. And against Oregon, who knows? Yes, they are young but they have a lot of talent and athleticism.

If you accept the premise that these are the teams which were truly disappointing, the common theme is pretty basic: each one lost to a less talented, more disciplined team. That should be of significant concern.