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Rude Awakenings: #1 ACC Seeds That Went Down In Flames In The NCAA Tournament

Virginia’s demise is the worst but they’re hardly alone.

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NCAA Basketball Tournament - First Round - Charlotte
CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 16: Kyle Guy #5 hugs Ty Jerome #11 of the Virginia Cavaliers against the UMBC Retrievers during the first round of the 2018 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Spectrum Center on March 16, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Virginia’s NCAA loss to Maryland-Baltimore County, the 16th seed ably coached by Ryan Odom, the younger son of Dave and Lynn Odom, was obviously the greatest shock ever experienced by a top-seeded ACC club.

Since 1979, when the NCAA began seeding its tournament, the ACC has commanded 37 top seeds. The Cavaliers are only the second No. 1 to go down without a preceding victory, after the ’79 North Carolina squad.

In all, five No. 1’s from the ACC failed to notch more than one NCAA win. Five others went 2-1, most recently UVa in 2014.

UNC has had 16 No. 1 seeds, followed in the ACC by Duke at 14, Virginia at six, and Maryland and Wake Forest with one each.

The Blue Devils, a second seed this go-round, reached the Final Four or won the NCAA championship in half of the years they earned a top seed. They also won four of their titles as a No. 1, the exception coming in 1991 when they were second-seeded and bested top-seed UNLV.

Carolina made the Final Four 10 of 16 times (62.5 percent) it appeared as a No.1 seed in the NCAAs. All five of its national titles since 1982 – two under Dean Smith, three under Roy Williams – came in such circumstances.

The Tar Heels, a No. 2 seed in 2018, are vying for a third straight visit to the NCAA title game. Only Duke among ACC clubs has previously made a trio of consecutive trips to the championship contest, losing in 1990 but winning in 1991 and 1992.

NCAA No. 1 Seeds From ACC Ousted Early
Year No. 1 Seed Opponent Seed, Name Final Score
1979 North Carolina #9 Pennsylvania 71-72
1982 Virginia #4 Ala.-Birmingham 66-68
1984 North Carolina #4 Indiana 68-72
1994 North Carolina #9 Boston College 72-75
2018 Virginia #16 Md.-Baltimore Co. 54-74
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