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ACC Looks to Improve Postseason Play
by Chris Coleman, TechSideline.com, TSLMail #424 March 19, 2010
The ACC was considered a stronger conference in 2009 than 2010. However, the conference did not fare well in the 2009 NCAA Tournament, and opinions on the ACC took a turn for the worse.
There are six ACC teams in the NCAA Tournament this year, and they'll be looking to have a better performance than last season. With another poor postseason, the Big East will continue to slip past the ACC as the top conference in college basketball, with the Big 12 right there as well.
Here's a look at last season's NCAA Tournament results for teams from the ACC.
UNC won the National Title, but that's about the only positive thing that ACC teams did in last year's NCAA Tournament. Duke went to the Sweet 16 as expected, but they were blown out by Villanova.
Wake Forest, Florida State, Clemson and Boston College all suffered first round upsets. Wake Forest was viewed as a team that could make a deep run in the tournament, but they were blown out in the first round by #13 seed Cleveland State. Boston College was also trounced by #10 seed USC.
Florida State lost a close game to #12 seed Wisconsin, while Clemson was upset by a Michigan team that some believed didn't belong in the NCAA Tournament. It was a sad opening round for the ACC, with the exception of Maryland's upset of #7 seed California.
Because of that opening NCAA Tournament round, the perception of the ACC changed. It was viewed as a good year for the ACC before that opening round, but the league's prestige dropped in the eyes of many after those first round upsets.
This season, the ACC is viewed as an average league. However, as last season indicated, a successful NCAA Tournament could potentially change those perceptions. Wake Forest got off to a good start last night with a last second win against Texas, and five more ACC teams will be in action today.
For the ACC to gain respect this year, they'll need Duke and Maryland to not get upset early, and they'll also need a couple of other conference teams to pull upsets. Wake Forest got the league off to a good start last night, and Clemson, Florida State and Georgia Tech will look to do the same on Friday.
Three ACC teams are also in the "Sweet 16" of the NIT. Though this tournament isn't widely viewed, it would still be good for the conference if one or more of its teams could make it to Madison Square Garden for the semifinals.
Virginia Tech is a #1 seed, and they'll host #4 UConn on Monday. They Hokies would then have to beat either #6 Nevada or #2 Rhode Island to advance to New York City. However, the Huskies will be a tough matchup on Monday. It would represent a nice win over the Big East if the Hokies can pull that one off.
UNC is a #4 seed, and they will play at Mississippi State in their next game on Saturday at noon. This will probably be the last game of the season for the Tar Heels, as they were arguably over-seeded in the NIT.
NC State also made the NIT, and they upset #3 USF on the road in the first round. The #6 seed Wolfpack will now travel to UAB to take on the #2 seed Blazers on Saturday.
With successful runs in the postseason by these nine teams, the ACC can earn back some of the credibility that they lost last March and throughout the regular season in 2009-10.
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