2024 ACC Tournament:
Quarterfinal Thursday Includes
League’s Three Historical Powers

By David Glenn

North Carolina Sports Network

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Long-time Atlantic Coast Conference basketball fans attending Thursday’s quarterfinal round of the 2024 ACC Tournament are getting another glimpse of each of the three most successful programs in league history.

Although they now make up only 20 percent of the ACC membership, Duke, UNC and NC State — all original members of the conference, of course, dating to the 1953-54 season, and all located in the tight-knit Triangle area of North Carolina — are responsible for a whopping 72.5 percent of ACC men’s basketball championships.

It’s easy to remember the dominance of Duke and Carolina, given their more recent high-level success, but it’s easy to forget that the league’s other most historically successful program is the one just a 30- (from Durham) or 40-minute (from Chapel Hill) drive away, at NC State.

The Triangle trio’s collective numbers are staggering, especially in the modern context of the expanded ACC, which now has 15 members and will have 18 schools starting in 2024-25, with California, SMU and Stanford on the way.

ACC Tournament Titles (1954-2023)

19—(All Other Schools Combined)
18—North Carolina
10—NC State

Triangle Schools’ Total=50 of 69 (72.5%)

The North Carolina-centric theme actually continues with Wake Forest, which is tied with Georgia Tech for the fourth-most ACC titles (four each). Next are Maryland and Virginia (three each), then Florida State (2012), Miami (2013), Notre Dame (2015), South Carolina (1971) and Virginia Tech (2022), which have captured one apiece. The Terrapins and Gamecocks were league members from 1953-2014 and 1953-71, respectively.

Boston College, Clemson (an original ACC member), Louisville, Pittsburgh and Syracuse have never won the ACC Tournament.

Even when the conversation is changed to measure ACC regular-season titles (first-place finishes), the same three programs dominate, only in a slightly different order. Meanwhile, thanks to coach Tony Bennett’s ongoing success in Charlottesville, Virginia joins the mix.

ACC Regular-Season Titles (1954-2024)
(Most Recent)

33—North Carolina (2024)
20—Duke (2022)
11—Virginia (2023)
7—NC State (1989)
5—Maryland (2010)
4—Wake Forest (2003)
2—Georgia Tech (1996)
2—Miami (2023)
1—Clemson (1990)
1—Florida State (2020)
1—South Carolina (1970)

When it comes to legendary ACC head coaches, too, there is a Triangle Trifecta of sorts.

Only four long-time leaders — again, all from the three Triangle programs — have managed to win more than one-third of their trips to the ACC Tournament: Duke’s Vic Bubas (40 percent; four of 10 trips from 1960-69), Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski (38 percent; 15 of 39 trips from 1981-2021), UNC’s Dean Smith (36 percent; 13 of 36 trips from 1962-97) and NC State’s Everett Case (36 percent; four of 11 trips from 1954-64).

Those four men also represent the Mount Rushmore of ACC Tournament champions: Krzyzewski (15 titles), Smith (13), Bubas (four) and Case (four). Next on the list are Georgia Tech’s Bobby Cremins, NC State’s Norm Sloan and UNC’s Roy Williams, with three titles each.

Duke’s Bill Foster (two of six from 1975-80) and UNC’s Bill Guthridge (one of three from 1998-2000) won exactly one-third of their head coaching trips to the ACC Tournament. Guthridge, of course, also was a part of 13 additional ACC championships, as Smith’s long-time assistant.

Current Duke coach Jon Scheyer, of course, hasn’t lost an ACC Tournament game (as a head coach) yet. His Blue Devils won three games in three days at the event last year to cut down the nets at the end of Scheyer’s maiden voyage in the ACC’s signature event.