Is the ACC Now the Most Powerful Conference?

(Mark Dolejs, USA TODAY Sports)

(Mark Dolejs, USA TODAY Sports)

The ACC’s History of Championships
Just how competitive is the Atlantic Coast Conference in basketball now that it’s added Notre Dame, Louisville, Pittsburgh and Syracuse? Well, for the record, before the ACC added these teams, it boasted 12 total NCAA Championships. Only the Pacific 12 has won more at 15. Of these wins, Duke and North Carolina have tallied the most at four and five, respectively. North Carolina State has won two and Maryland one.

How Good are the ACC Additions?
Of the four teams joining the conference, Syracuse won the NCAA Championship in 2003, proving the Orange could indeed go all the way. Louisville won it in 1980 over UCLA 59-54, in 1986 over Duke 72-69, and destroyed Duke, 85-63, on the way to its 2013 Championship. Notre Dame has not won a national championship but almost always fields a competitive team. Pittsburgh has also fared very well under Jamie Dixon’s leadership. The Panthers are often in the NCAA Tournament—in fact, Dixon once led Pittsburgh to seven consecutive appearances in the tournament. Though they haven’t won it all, they have had some great seasons with shocking wins over teams ranked significantly higher.

How did New Teams Start Out?
The additions definitely added some excitement to the competition with some heart-stopping play and games that will add to rich ACC lore. This past year, Syracuse ended up ranked second in the ACC regular season standings at 14-4. Pitt ranked fifth at 11-7. Both Syracuse and Notre Dame defeated Duke in regular season play. Louisville comes to the ACC with high expectations and fellow ACC teams will have to fight hard to win over this battle-hardened, well-coached team.

The Proof of the Pudding
Some experts believe these additions make the ACC the strongest overall conference in the nation. However, multitudes of teams have had excellent records, with regular season wins over top teams—yet have never reached the top of the heap. This past season, Duke defeated teams like Michigan, North Carolina, UCLA, Virginia, and Syracuse but lost in its opening round of March Madness. The ultimate way to prove the ACC’s power is by advancing in the NCAA Tournament and winning national championships as the years go by. The ACC won it all in 2009 and 2010. We’ll see what the new season brings.

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