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2018 NCAA Tournament: (Mostly) Not Your Typical ACC Reps In Sweet Sixteen

Duke and Syracuse know their way around but it’s a bit novel for Florida State and Clemson.

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NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round-Auburn vs Clemson
Mar 18, 2018; San Diego, CA, USA; Clemson Tigers guard Scott Spencer (22) and players celebrate the 84-53 victory following the second half of the second round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament at Viejas Arena.
Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

You might not think it, but this has been a breakthrough NCAA tournament for the ACC. Just not in a familiar way.

Of the quartet of league members that reached the Sweet 16, only Duke sported one of the tournament’s top four seeds.

Clemson is seeded fifth, highest for the school since 2008. The school has never been seeded higher than fourth, and that only in 1987 and 1997. This is merely the 12th time the Tigers made the NCAA field, and the fourth tournament since 1980 in which they reached the Sweet 16.

That ’80 team, led by guard Billy Williams and big man Larry Nance, got to the West Region final during Bill Foster’s tenure.

Two more wins for Brad Brownell’s 2018 team -- certainly possible if it continues to play as if it absconded with UNC’s offense -- would bring the first Final Four berth in Clemson history.

First up, Kansas, the top seed in the Midwest.

Florida State, about to play Gonzaga, has joined a Sweet 16 for just the fourth time as an ACC member and only the second time in the last quarter-century. Leonard Hamilton’s club came into this NCAA tournament as a No. 9 seed.

FSU did get to a Final Four, but that was in 1972, two decades prior to its ACC enlistment. This is only the second NCAA berth for the program since 2012, the year it won its sole ACC title.

Syracuse, more accustomed to NCAA surroundings, faces Duke in the Sweet 16 as an 11th seed. The Orange are the 10th ACC squad since 2010 that came into the NCAAs with a double-digit seed. Just two years ago Jim Boeheim’s team was a tenth-seed, and reached the Final Four.

This is the third time in five ACC seasons Syracuse appeared in the NCAAs. In its Big East days Boeheim led the program to a trio of Final Fours (1987, 1996, 2013) and the 2003 national championship.

SURVIVED TO ADVANCE
Teams In Sweet 16 Since 1990 As Members of ACC
Sweets School Years Included
1 (2) Boston College* 2006
3 Clemson 1990, 97, 2018
20 Duke 1990, 91, 92, 94, 98, 99, 2000, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 09, 10, 11, 13, 15, 16, 18
4 Florida State$ 1992, 93, 2011, 18
4 Georgia Tech 1990, 92, 96, 2004
1 (11) Louisville% 2015
7 MarylandX 1994, 95, 98, 99, 2001, 02, 03
2 (3) Miami** 2013, 16
17 North Carolina 1990, 91, 92, 93, 95, 97, 98, 2000, 05, 07, 08, 09, 11, 12, 15, 16, 17
3 N.C. State 2005, 12, 15
2 (3) Notre Dame# 2015, 16
0 (5) Pittsburgh#
2 (12) Syracuse# 2016, 18
4 Virginia 1993, 95, 2014, 16
0 Virginia Tech** None
4 Wake Forest 1993, 95, 96, 2004
* Joined ACC in 2005-06.
$ Joined ACC in 1991-92
** Joined ACC in 2004-05
% Joined ACC in 2014-15
# Joined ACC in 2013-14
X Left ACC after 2013-14
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