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30 Win ACC Teams This Decade

It used to be 20. Inflation. What can you do?

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NCAA Basketball: Virginia at Duke
Jan 27, 2018; Durham, NC, USA; Duke Blue Devils forward Wendell Carter Jr. (34) drives to the basket as Virginia Cavaliers forward Mamadi Diakite (25) defends during the second half at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Virginia won 65-63. 
Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Used to be, 20 wins was the mark of a successful season. These days, with some 30 games played before the ACC Tournament even rolls around, 20 doesn’t seem like such a big deal.

Eight ACC teams compiled at least 20 victories during regular-season play; all eight got NCAA bids. Not a bad rule of thumb for expecting to get in.

Louisville and Syracuse also reached 20 wins by padding their totals with a triumph in the ACC Tournament. Two wins in the league title event got Notre Dame to 20 as well. All but one of the league’s winning teams (Boston College) had 20 wins under its belt following the ACC Tournament.

In a manner that defied fairness, if not selection guidelines, the Irish were banished to the NIT while Syracuse drew the ACC’s ninth NCAA bid. Basically Notre Dame matched Syracuse step for step despite playing two months without Bonzie Colson and a few games lacking standout guard Matt Farrell.

We’re told the impact of significant player injuries is taken into account by the NCAA tournament selection committee in issuing invitations. We’re also told power ratings matter: According to Jeff Sagarin with USA Today, Notre Dame rates 25th in Division I, Syracuse 50th.

Nearly three-quarters of ACC members (11, .733 percent) notched 20 or more victories; 60 percent (9) overall got NCAA bids. So we should probably use 30 wins as a more meaningful measure of exceptional prowess.

Meanwhile, using that criterion only Virginia at 31-2 met the highest standard of excellence following its sweep of the ACC Tournament.

Of the 11 30-game winners in the ACC during this decade, only Duke in 2011 and Virginia this year reached that total by regular-season’s end. The 30-win ACC teams captured three national championships from 2010-17. A fourth reached the title game. Three more advanced at least to a regional final. UVa is up next.

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