clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

2018 NCAA Tournament: The Best Conference Is Back In The Saddle

Well it’s not the PAC-12.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

NCAA Basketball: Syracuse at Duke
Feb 24, 2018; Durham, NC, USA; Duke Blue Devils forward Wendell Carter Jr. (34) looks to pass after recovering a loose ball as Syracuse Orange forward Marek Dolezaj (21) defends during the first half at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

The ACC is back.

As far as NCAA participation is concerned, the ACC has rebounded to the impressive levels it achieved in 2015 and 2016, only to fall back last season.

The 2015 season was the first in two decades the ACC had at least four teams reach the Sweet 16. There were in fact five, a record for the league, even if that was only a third of its membership.

Then things got better. In 2016 the conference had six regional semifinalists, an embarrassment of riches that was a record for any conference. Four reached the Elite Eight, North Carolina and Syracuse got all the way to the Final Four, and the Tar Heels went to the championship game. The ’16 season also was the first since 1992 and 1993 in which the ACC sent at least 40 percent of its members to the Sweet 16 or beyond.

Still, by percentage the ACC’s greatest showing came not in 2016 but in 1990 when four of eight teams, 50 percent, reached the Sweet 16.

Just when ACC adherents thought the league had proven its mettle, followed by a 2017 regular season in which it was widely acclaimed as the best in the country, the conference fell on its face. Despite getting a league-record nine teams in the NCAA field, a 60 percent showing not seen since 2004, eight immediately, embarrassingly, emphatically flamed out.

The one in nine advance to the Sweet 16 was the lowest by percentage since 1979. That year, on a day dubbed “Black Monday”, neither Duke nor UNC, the sole ACC entrants, survived their NCAA openers. Unlike 1979 the sole ’17 survivor, North Carolina, went on to win the national championship.

NOT SO SWEET
Number of ACC Teams Per Year in Sweet 16 and Percent of Membership
(Since Multiple Entrants Allowed From Same League)
No. Year (Percent of Total Membership)
6 2016 (40.0)
5 2015 (33.3)
4 2018 (26.7), 1995 (44.4), 1993 (44.4), 1992 (44.4), 1990 (50.0), 1989 (50.0), 1986 (50.0), 1985 (50.0)
3 2011 (33.3), 2005 (27.3), 2004 (33.3), 1998 (33.3), 1983 (37.5)
2 2013 (13.3), 2012 (16.7), 2009 (16.7), 2006 (16.7), 2003 (22.2), 2002 (22.2), 2001 (22.2),2000 (22.2), 1999 (22.2), 1997 (22.2), 1996 (22.2), 1994 (22.2), 1991 (25.0), 1988 (25.0),1987 (25.0), 1984 (25.0), 1981 (25.0), 1980 (25.0), 1977 (28.6), 1975 (28.6)
1 2017 (06.7), 2014 (06.7), 2010 (08.3), 2008 (08.3), 2007 (08.3), 1982 (12.5), 1978 (14.3))
0 1979 (00.0), 1976 (00.0)
If you're going to shop Amazon, please start here and help DBR and while you're there check out Barry’s book Across The Line
Check out our October '17 t-shirt! | Drop us a line