Every coach will says it’s a new year. They’ll say “we put the past behind us and moved on” – emphasize that the under achievements of the year before don’t matter, but I’m calling them out as liars. Great college hoops programs are bred in March. When people talk about Coach K, Tom Izzo, Rick Pitino or Roy Williams they don’t harp on their regular season wins – they talk about their Final Four appearances and National Championships, because college basketball greatness and immortality is created during the NCAA Tournament.
At the beginning of the season, I wrote that the ACC had something to prove this year after their abysmal showing in last year’s tourney (only UVA survived the first weekend before losing in the round of 16). If the conference was going to be able to tout itself as the best in college hoops, they’d have to prove it in March. Well, the teams must’ve heard about my challenge, because during the first weekend of this year’s NCAA Tournament the ACC made history by sending a record-tying five teams to the Sweet 16 (The Big East sent 5 teams in 2009).
So, what’s next for the ACC? At most, the league will represent half of the teams in the Elite 8 – an incredible feat that should end the question of which conference in the best in college hoops.