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ACC Cream Rises To The Top Of The NCAA Quite Often - Especially Lately

Apologies to Bill Walton but the ACC is the conference basketball champions

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Wisconsin v Duke
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - APRIL 06: The Duke Blue Devils celebrate with the championship trophy after defeating the Wisconsin Badgers during the NCAA Men’s Final Four Championship at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 6, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Duke defeated Wisconsin 68-63.
Photo by Lance King/Getty Images

There’s a trend here, a large, overarching trend that applies to the entire ACC.

Sure, the ACC has grown and grown, more than doubling in size since it fell to seven members in 1972. Over the years the conference became known for its basketball, sending a steady stream of teams to the Final Four. But it’s the core group of first-year members that have won all its NCAA championships, and with increasing crushing efficiency.

ACC entrants have gotten better at this Final Four thing in recent years.

A single ACC team won a national championship in the fifties. The league struck out in the sixties, then saw one of its schools win another title in the seventies. That was basically respectable, especially with Final Four appearances coming virtually every year, but ultimately disappointing.

Then the momentum -- or was it acumen? – grew. Slowly and steadily.

During the 1980s league teams won a pair of titles. The nineties saw three national championships by ACC clubs.

In this century that premier potency grew emphatically. By 2019 the ACC had sent 41 clubs to the Final Four over a 63-season span. In each of the past two decades conference teams won four NCAA titles, eight over the past 19 years.

And, no, adding members didn’t account for more ACC champs. Not one of those title holders was an expansion club, unless you count Virginia, which joined during December 1954, during the league’s first academic year.

Overall, of 15 national championships captured by ACC programs, eight came in the 21st century.

Men’s NCAA Basketball Titles By ACC Members Per Decade
Decade Titles Years Teams
1950s 1 1957 UNC
1960s 0 NA NA
1970s 1 1974 NC State
1980s 2 1982, 1983 UNC, NC State
1990s 3 1991, 1992, Duke, Duke, UNC
2000s 4 2001, 2002,2005, 2009 Duke, Maryand, UNC, UNC
2010s 4 2010, 2015, 2017, 2019 Duke, Duke, UNC, UVa

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