Joe Biden took 33 years and three tries to be elected president. Had Clemson finally won the 67th ACC Tournament this week (last year’s abortive event officially counts in the total), it would have been its third trip to the final. The Tigers’ journey to the ACC summit would then have taken exactly twice as long as Biden’s quest to occupy the White House.
Of course Clemson fell short once again, negating that any Biden symmetry as it suffered a quick second-round knockout by Miami.
Or, maybe it’s time for a Virginia Tech championship.
Mike Young’s second squad is enjoying the program’s sixth straight winning season overall, yet without a sniff to date of the ACC Tournament final or a conference title. The third-seeded Hokies, a 2005 expansion team, made the semifinals three times in their first seven ACC seasons under coach Seth Greenberg, most recently in 2011. But they haven’t put together consecutive tournament wins since.
Syracuse, which joined the league nine seasons later, has yet to win more than a single game in an ACC Tournament. The Orange beat Wake in 2018 and Pitt in 2019 when each was seeded 14th. This year they moved up a notch and beat NC State, the ninth seed. This is only the second time the faded national power has been forced to compete at Greensboro, a small city that has all the charm of being the league’s historic home, whether coach Jim Boeheim and advocates of relocation to a major metropolis like it or not.
NC State finished the regular season on a hot streak, winning five straight. But a cancelled finale against Virginia Tech apparently left the Wolfpack stale after being shelved for a week. So much for the Pack grabbing a championship for the first time since 1987. That after winning nine of the ACC’s first 30 tournament titles.
Incidentally, unpredictable North Carolina, laden with talent and size this season, won 10 of those first 30 championships. Duke won six.
In other words, between them the three Triangle schools won 25 of the first 30 league tournaments (.833 percent). In the 36 fully contested tournaments since, the trio won 24 times (.667) – Duke 15, UNC 8, NC State once. Overall that’s about three of every four (.754).
Fellow North Carolina school Wake Forest won two more early titles (1961, 1962), allowing only Maryland under Bud Millikan (1958), South Carolina under Frank McGuire (1971) and Virginia under Terry Holland (1976) to intrude on the Big Four’s early hegemony. Of those three interlopers only Virginia remains in the ACC.
Speaking of teams shuffling out – and into – the league, modern expansion members haven’t exactly dominated the ACC Tournament.
Georgia Tech, a 1980 addition, won three titles between 1985 and 1993 under Bobby Cremins. The Yellow Jackets reached four more championship games, none more recently than 2010.
Otherwise the eight programs added since 1992 (Boston College, Florida State, Louisville, Miami, Notre Dame, Pitt, Syracuse and Virginia Tech) have captured a measly three championships. FSU broke the ice in 2012, followed by Miami in 2013 and Notre Dame in 2015.
Programs that came aboard since 2004 snagged four championship berths prior to this year. Boston College reached the final in its first ACC season, Notre Dame got there and won in its second.
|TAKING TOURNAMENT TITLE TOUGH TASK FOR EXPANSION TEAMS
How Every ACC Member Fared in League Tournament
|Boston College||2006||0||NA||1 (2006)|
|Clemson||1954||0||NA||(2) 1962, 2008|
|Florida State||1992||1||2013||3 (2009,19)|
|Georgia Tech||1980||3||1993||7 (1986,96, 05,10)|
|Notre Dame||2005||1||2015||2 (2017)|
|South Carolina||1954-71||1||1971||3 (1957,70)|