As of right now, the ACC looks like the most dominant conference in Men’s College Basketball. With the Elite Eight around the corner, as of right now is the time to look like the most dominant conference in the sport. On Thursday, both ACC teams that played, Duke and Miami, lost, an 0-2 start for the conference. Friday was a completely different day, as the ACC went 4-0, Virginia, Notre Dame, North Carolina, and Syracuse all punched their ticket to the Elite Eight and ensured the ACC was going to be represented as half of not only the Elite Eight, but also the Final Four. In this process, the final Big 10 Teams were eliminated from the tournament.
Virginia defeated Iowa State in what seemed to be a fairly easy game, standout guard Malcom Brogden was off this game, but the big duo of Anthony McGill and Mike Tobey combined for 41 points and 15 boards, Iowa States Georges Niang scored 30 points but everybody else was held in check. Notre Dame’s game was unusual to start, in the first half the Fighting Irish, usually powerful offensively, was held to 19 points, luckily they only allowed 23 points on defense, Wisconsin seemed to have won the game on Vitto Brown’s 3 pointer with 28 seconds left, but Demetrius Jackson who made only 1/3 of his shots had two key defensive plays to ring home the Win for Notre Dame.
At the same time the Fighting Irish became the Cardiac Irish, Syracuse also relied on late game heroics, a huge steal by Trevor Cooney and game saving block by Tyler Lydon helped Syracuse close on a 9-1 run to win over Gonzaga, for both Notre Dame and Syracuse, defense was key. North Carolina flat out dominated the Indiana Hoosiers, this game was basically decided by halftime, Marcus Paige was 6-9 from 3. The final score was closer than the actual game.
The Conference that received the most praise entering into the tournament, the Big 12 have 2 teams, Oklahoma and Kansas. Villanova and Oregon are the only two teams not in the ACC or Big 12, as Nova represents the Big East, and Oregon the Pac 12. The Elite Eight starts off with an ACC doubleheader, Virginia facing off against Syracuse, and North Carolina facing off against Notre Dame. Oklahoma will be facing Oregon and Kansas against Villanova for a chance to be sure the Big 12 takes up half of the Final Four.
The way these brackets are built, an ACC team will be in the National Championship game, as the winners of the two Elite Eight games will compete in the Final Four, therefore guaranteeing the ACC will be represented in the National Championship game. They may face a team from the vaunted Big 12, the Big East who gained some respect coming in, or the Pac 12, a conference less looked upon by many, but no matter what happens, the ACC has owned this tournament. The ACC, more so Syracuse and Notre Dame than Virginia and North Carolina are unapologetic for busting any perfect brackets. Another man unapologetic about your busted brackets is ACC Commisioner, John Swofford.