How conference will outperform expectations in March

How conference will outperform expectations in March

ACC Basketball is ranked as the worst major league, but that doesn’t show it all. The conference is better where it counts…at the top.

ACC Basketball currently ranks 6th in the nation in the KenPom conference rankings. They are dead last among the six major conferences with an adjusted efficiency margin of 9.50. Last season, the conference was in 5th place in this ranking but outdid itself in the tournament. While matching last year’s success is probably a stretch, the ACC is destined to surpass expectations once again.

False perception of the League

While the numbers will say the ACC is bad, I will say that the numbers don’t tell the whole story and we rate conferences the wrong way. The ACC is weighed down by the bottom of the conference. Louisville, Georgia Tech, Notre Dame, Boston College and Florida State are all ranked below 150 on KenPom and a few of those teams are ranked well below that. The other five high major leagues have five teams under 150 combined.

So the league is really bad down there. It shouldn’t matter. These teams do not play in the NCAA Tournament. These are not the teams that are on the national scene at the end of the season. The only real impact of these teams is that the top teams in the conference have to play against the inferior teams. However, the good metrics that rank teams are adjusted to the schedule anyway.

The benefits of ACC

As people seem to have already forgotten, three ACC teams played in the Elite Eight last year. Two played in the Final Four and the conference played as a national championship team. Although the league doesn’t have a Duke-level team this season, UNC, Miami and Duke themselves have some pretty big upsides. Virginia, which is currently the best team in the conference by adjusted efficiency margin, is in line for a top-three seed in the NCAA Tournament if it can continue to play well.

Other competitors

Apart from the four teams already listed, the ACC has other competitive and NCAA tournament teams. North Carolina State, Pitt and league leader Clemson have been pleasant surprises this season. None of them have telling stats and all three are still a long way from NCAA tournament locks, but they add some quality depth to the conference. Virginia Tech, Wake Forest and Syracuse have work to do to get into the 68-team field, but they’re tough to manage. All three have quality wins or at least been competitive with top teams in the conference.

big picture

Overall, the ACC having 15 teams hurts the league a lot. If you just include the conference’s current NCAA Tournament teams, that would be 70% of the conference in the Big 12. I’m certainly not trying to say the league is better than or equal to the Big 12. In fact, that’s not is not even on the same playing field.

To say it’s the worst league in the country because the league has 15 teams and the bottom five are really bad is to be narrow-minded. The ACC can most certainly have more success in NCAA tournaments than people would expect.

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