Posted: 1:45 a.m. Friday, March 15, 2013
When it comes to the ACC Tournament, the final is apt to be a Triangle affair.
This is the 60th edition of the nation’s third-oldest postseason conference tournament, after the Southern Conference and the CIAA. Over the first 59 years, Duke, North Carolina and N.C. State earned 78 berths in the championship game – 31 for UNC, 30 for Duke, and 17 for the Wolfpack. That’s 66.1 percent of the possible spots.
Once the result were in, those three schools earned 46 of 59 titles prior to this weekend in Greensboro. That’s an 80.0 success rate.
The Blue Devils lead with 19 ACC championships.
Thirteen of Duke’s official ACC titles came under Mike Krzyzewski, including five straight from 1999 through 2003, an unduplicated run, and 10 in the past 14 years.
North Carolina has 17 ACC championships, 13 under Dean Smith, two under Roy Williams (2007, 2008), one under Frank McGuire in 1957, and one under Bill Guthridge in 1998. (Some may recall the Tar Heels’ triumph in ’98, after which the delightful Makhtar Ndiaye leaped onto a sideline press table and celebrated, taking by some as taunting Duke fans seated nearby.)
N.C. State has 10 championshps, most recently in 1987 under Jim Valvano. Everett Case won four of the league’s first six titles, an extension of his dominance in the Southern Conference, from which the ACC was formed for the 1953-54 season.
The tournament still determines the official ACC champion. The so-called regular season title wasn’t instituted until 1990, in part to placate Clemson, which finished first that year for the only time in conference history.
Recognition of a regular-season crown also soothed diehard opponents of the tournament as a vehicle for determining the league champion. UNC’s Smith was long vocal in that regard, as was McGuire. They argued that home-and-home competition across several grueling months was a better indicator of team supremacy than a one-and-done tournament.
Now that expansion has undercut the round robin, the only level playing field, or floor, is found at the ACC Tournament. There, in 23 previous visits to the Greensboro Coliseum, in-state entrants Duke, UNC, and N.C. State have won 18 times, 78.3 percent.
So far, through the first round, all three Triangle schools are still alive.
|EXCEPTIONS TO THE RULE|
Teams From Outside the Triangle
Winning ACC Titles, 1954-2012
|4||Wake Forest||1961, 1962, 1995, 1996|
|3||Maryland||1958, 1984, 2004|
|3||Georgia Tech||1985, 1990, 1993|