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Top Dogs

Stratification has set in, at least at the top of the ACC

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NCAA Basketball: Virginia at Duke
Jan 27, 2018; Durham, NC, USA; Duke Blue Devils guard Grayson Allen (3) gets behind Virginia Cavaliers guard Kyle Guy (5) as he drives to the basket during the second half at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Virginia won 65-63. 
Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Quietly, since 2012 an elite group of ACC teams have separated themselves from the rest of the league. The ’12 season was when Tony Bennett’s Virginia program broke into the top five during the regular season.

UVa hasn’t left the five-best since, joining perennial powers Duke and North Carolina among the ACC’s upper crust. Narrowing things down further, from 2014 through 2018 UVa finished first on three occasions and reached two ACC Tournament finals (2014, 2016). The Cavaliers won the title in 2014.

Miami also has nudged into the upper echelon -- this is the fourth time since Jim Larranaga’s arrival in 2012 the Hurricanes finished among the ACC first four finishers.

This was the only season since Louisville joined the league in 2015 that it failed to finish among the ACC’s five best regular-season squads. The Cardinals made it each time from 2015 through 2017 under dismissed coach Rick Pitino.

Louisville’s top-five finishes in the 2012-17 period tied it with Notre Dame and NC State.

This year Clemson finished among the league’s five best for the first time since 2011, when current coach Brad Brownell took over the Tiger program.

CREAM OF THE CONFERENCE
Top 5 Finishers in ACC Regular Season, Since 2012
Year First Second Third Fourth Fifth
2018 Virginia Duke
UNC
Miami Clemson NC State
2017 UNC FSU
Louisville
Notre Dame
NA NA Duke
Virginia
2016 UNC Virginia
Miami
NA Louisville Duke
2015 Virginia Duke N. Dame Louisville UNC
2014 Virginia Syracuse Duke
UNC
NA Pitt
2013 Miami Duke UNC
Virginia
NC State NA
2012 UNC Duke FSU
NC State
Miami
Virginia NA

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