ACC In NCAA Tournament:
League’s Recent History Suggests First-Round Optimism

By David Glenn
North Carolina Sports Network

Both the short-term history and the long-term history of the NCAA Tournament suggest that one or more Atlantic Coast Conference teams will play a major role in determining who makes the Sweet 16, who advances to the Final Four and who cuts down the nets as the national champion.

Over the league’s 71-year history, ACC teams have won about two-thirds of their March Madness games. Entering this year’s Round of 64 matchups on Thursday and Friday, the league’s all-time NCAA Tournament record is 475-251 (.654), meaning its members have won 65.4 percent of the time.

More recently, the ACC has the best record of any conference over the past nine years. That period includes only eight NCAA Tournaments, because COVID led to the cancellation of the 2020 event.

That timeframe includes three ACC national champions, from three different schools: Duke in 2015, North Carolina in 2017 and Virginia in 2019. No other conference has more NCAA titles in that period, and three of the other so-called power leagues have none.

League — NCAA Tournament Record
(2015-19; 2021-23)

ACC — 99-52 (.656), 3 NCAA titles
Big 12 — 76-51 (.598), 2 NCAA titles
Pac-12 — 47-32 (.595), 0 NCAA titles
Big East — 53-40 (.570), 3 NCAA titles
SEC — 61-48 (.560), 0 NCAA titles
Big Ten — 70-58 (.547), 0 NCAA titles

Even over the last two NCAA Tournaments, during which the ACC drew intense regular-season criticism and ultimately failed to post another national championship, the league had a presence on the final weekend.

UNC and Duke played in the 2022 Final Four, with the Tar Heels eliminating the Blue Devils and advancing to the national championship game before losing to Kansas. Miami played in the 2023 Final Four.

The link immediately below offers a glance at the ACC’s sensational March Madness track record in the modern era (1980-2024), meaning after the NCAA Tournament eliminated its long-standing restrictions (first one team, then two teams) on the number of schools that could make the Big Dance from a single conference.

At bottom is the ACC’s schedule in the Round of 64, following by our North Carolina Sports Network’s audio/video breakdown of those early matchups.



Thursday, March 21
West Region

#16 Wagner vs. #1 North Carolina
Spectrum Center, Charlotte, N.C.
2:45 pm, CBS

South Region

#11 NC State vs. #6 Texas Tech
PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, Pa.
9:40 p.m., CBS

Friday, March 22
West Region

#6 Clemson vs. #11 New Mexico
FedEx Forum, Memphis, Tenn.
3:10 p.m., truTV

South Region

#4 Duke vs. #13 Vermont
Barclays Center, Brooklyn, N.Y.
7:10 p.m., CBS