Another college basketball season has come and gone and once again the Atlantic Coast Conference has failed to place a team among the final four of the NCAA tournament. How can this be?
After reading and listening to all the local media hype extolling the superiority of the ACC, I thought for sure that Maryland, Duke, UNC, and either Clemson or State would have all four spots sewed up! However, they are nowhere to be found. Instead, we find representatives from the Big Ten, the Metro Conference and the Pac-10 dominating the scene. After landing five teams in the tourmament, the ACC has again failed to live up to its self-given title of the "premier basketball conference in America."
Never had the ACC been in a better position to place a team among the final four. In addition to crashing the tournament with five entries, the conference has never had more favorable bracketing than this year. Thanks to higher than deserved seedings, four ACC entries escaped the first round competition which Iowa, Purdue and UCLA (all finalists) had to endure.
The truth of the matter is that the ACC is not the best conference in America (that distinction clearly belongs to the Big Ten), nor is it the second or even third best. It is, however, a conference consisting of teams which play exciting, close games among themselves. It is evident that "exciting" basketball has been confused by the ACC public relations officials and the press with the "best" basketball in the country. Fans will rarely witness one team blow out another in the ACC. The finesse style of the ACC and the slow-down tempo of its teams will never permit that. However, the ACC playing style does significantly enhance the odds of a close margin of victory.