Hype that called the ACC the greatest basketball conference in history came crashing down when their three NCAA teams lost by an average of 21 points on Saturday, leaving them as the only major conference without a Sweet 16 team. Jim Boeheim wanted his Syracuse team included as a 10th team in the tournament, to match the Big East and Big 12 with two-thirds of their teams in the conference.
However, Syracuse’s claim that they should have been included in the tournament took a massive hit when they were defeated at home by Mississippi in the NIT.
Three ACC teams opened the tournament in the traditional toss-up games, but Wake Forest lost to fellow 11-seed Kansas State 95-87, and Virginia Tech and Miami lost 8 vs. 9 games by 10 and 20 points respectively – and average 12 points worse than expected per game to cut the ACC field to six teams.
The average spread on the three ACC games Saturday was likewise a toss-up, but the day was even worse with Florida (3rd in ACC) blown out by Xavier (7th in Big East) 91-66, Virginia (5th) getting blown out by Florida 65-39 and Notre Dame losing to West Virginia 83-71 to leave only three ACC teams in the field after the first six were eliminated by an embarrassing average of 17 points per game.
While the ACC’s final three chances Sunday – Louisville, UNC and Duke – are all favorites, the conference needs them all to win just to match the 20% of conference teams (3 of 15) in the Sweet 16 – a count already assured in the Big East (2 of 10) and quite possibly matched or surpassed by the other four major conferences. The following is the conference-by-conference breakdown based on Sunday’s games to determine the last eight teams in the Sweet 16:
Big Ten between 14.3% and 28.6% of conference teams will be in Sweet 16. Wisconsin and Purdue are in, Michigan and Michigan State play Sunday to try to make it 4 of 14 teams.
Big East will have 20% of teams in Sweet 16. Butler and Xavier are in, no teams playing Sunday.
Big 12 will have 10% to 30% of teams in the Sweet 16. West Virginia is in, and Baylor and Kansas play Sunday.
Pac-12 between 7.1% and 28.6%. Arizona is in the Sweet 16, while Oregon, USC and UCLA play Sunday to get as many as four of 14 in the Sweet 16.
SEC between 7.1% and 28.6%. Florida is in the Sweet 16, while South Carolina, Kentucky and Arkansas play Sunday to get as many as four of 14 in the Sweet 16.
ACC 0% to 20% of teams in Sweet 16. The best case for the Atlantic Coast Conference is that Louisville, UNC and Duke all win Sunday to match the Big East’s 20% with three of 15 teams in the Sweet 16.
Other 26 Conferences 0.4% to 1.4% of teams in Sweet 16. Of the 276 teams in the other conferences, Gonzaga is in the Sweet 16 and Wichita State, Rhode Island and Cincinnati play Sunday.
The 15-team ACC conference had four teams ranked between 80th and 174th at www.kenpom.com, which ranked the conference four points worse than the Big 12 on average.