The Elite Eight hasn't started yet, but we already know an ACC team will play for the national championship. On Sunday, ACC squad Virginia will play ACC squad Syracuse for a Final Four spot. Then, ACC squad North Carolina will play ACC squad Notre Dame for another Final Four spot, and then the ACC squads that win those two games will play for a shot at the title.
Simply put, this is the best NCAA Tournament any conference has ever put together. The ACC will win at least 19 games in the tournament, breaking a record held by the Big East in 1985. The conference will earn $39.9 million from the NCAA Tournament's television deal, which is a record.
The league had already set a record by putting six teams in the Sweet 16, and four in the Elite Eight ties a record set by the Big East in 2009.
And it could've been better if Louisville, which had a better conference record than four ACC teams that made the tournament, hadn't ruled itself ineligible.
UNC and Virginia seemed like national title contenders all year long and earned No. 1 seeds. Notre Dame and Syracuse weren't quite as favored, but they did receive some luck of the draw. Both avoided top seeds when West Virginia and Michigan State got upset in the first round via some close finishes, and both took late leads in the final minutes of their games to make the Elite Eight. Both are playing perhaps their best basketball of the season.
The ACC deserves all the hype and credit. They've always been one of the best conferences in college basketball, but Notre Dame and Syracuse are relatively new additions with plenty of clout.
When you have 15 teams with basketball pedigree in the same conference, you're giving yourself a great opportunity to wreck shop in March. And that's exactly what the ACC has done.
Congrats to Boston College -- you probably could've gone 1-17 in any other conference.
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March Madness: Does sixth-seeded Notre Dame qualify as a Cinderella story?
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