It could have been worse.
This season we’re become accustomed to the ACC’s prowess being denigrated, frankly with some justification. Still, a few facets of the league’s standing as revealed in selections for the 2022 NCAA tournament are worth scrutiny — if only to highlight just how low regard for the ACC has fallen.
Oh, sure, Duke is a second seed. And there are 5 ACC teams in the NCAAs.
But Duke is the only ACC member among the top 28 seeds. The Blue Devils in fact were virtually alone all season in the AP top-25, a rarity matched last year, when the league’s competitive reputation thoroughly crashed and burned.
Before that you had to go back to 1960 to see more sparse ACC representation in the polls.
At least the ACC can count on its women’s teams, with NC State and Louisville earning two of the top four NCAA seeds.
The league’s five teams in the men’s tournament include a pair of lowly No. 11’s in Notre Dame and league champion Virginia Tech. Miami is a 10.
The ACC quintet represent a third of the league’s membership, the smallest portion since 2013. That was also the last time the conference failed to have a top seed.
The sole instance of the ACC placing a smaller percentage of its membership in the NCAAs was 1979, the year seeding began.
Thanks to Duke, the ACC’s tournament profile is a bit better than last season, when all the league managed was a pair of No. 4 seeds in Florida State and Virginia. Only FSU got as far as the Sweet 16, as did 11th-seeded Syracuse.
The Orange are not in the field this season after posting the first losing record of coach Jim Boeheim’s career. In contrast, Jim Larranaga’s Hurricanes are in for the first time since 2018; Mike Brey and Notre Dame were selected for the first time since 2017.
North Carolina now has the ACC’s most enduring run of NCAA appearances with 11; the Tar Heel streak would have ended with its losing 2020 record but the tournament was canceled.
Virginia had the next longest streak with seven straight visits, ended this season. Florida State likewise saw the end of its four-year NCAA streak.
Surprisingly that leaves Virginia Tech with the next-longest NCAA run among ACC members with five consecutive appearances.
Mike Young’s Hokies were one and done in the ’21 NCAAs as a No. 10 seed. This year Virginia Tech got the ACC’s official bid. The Hokies won 13 of their last 15 games en route to a first title since joining the conference in 2005.
Their reward? That 11th seed in the NCAAs, matching the humble slot accorded NC State, the ACC champ in 1987.
|WHEN WE THINK IT MATTERS MOST
ACC Teams In NCAA Tournament, Annually Since Seeding Began
(Asterisk Indicates Won National Title, Results as ACC Members Only) ;
|Year||In||Total||% In||Top Four
|2021||7||15||46.7||2 (both 4)||None|
|2020||The Year The Music Died|