Surprise, surprise: ACC lands 3 teams in Sweet 16
After going through what many characterized as a “down year,” the ACC will be sending 3 teams to the Sweet 16.
North Carolina, Duke and Miami all advanced past the first weekend after winning a pair of NCAA Tournament games. Notre Dame came up just short, falling to Texas Tech in the Round of 32. Virginia Tech also made the Big Dance but lost to Texas in the first round.
Only the Big 12 was able to match the ACC’s number of Sweet 16 squads with three. Notably, the SEC is sending just one team (Arkansas) into the second weekend while the Big Ten (Purdue, Michigan) has just two.
Conference representation in the Sweet 16…
Big 12: 3
Big East: 2
Big Ten: 2
— Saturday Road (@SaturdayRoad) March 21, 2022
Miami is perhaps the biggest surprise inclusion in this year’s Sweet 16 — at least amongst ACC teams. The Hurricanes upset No. 2-seeded Auburn on Sunday night thanks to tremendous guard play from Charlie Moore, Kameron McGusty and Isaiah Wong.
Miami also might have the best chance of advancing further in the NCAA Tournament. The Hurricanes will face another upset-minded team in No. 11-seeded Iowa State in the Sweet 16. The Hurricanes have never made it to the Elite Eight in program history.
North Carolina was also a shock, as the Tar Heels beat defending champion Baylor in an overtime classic on Saturday. The Tar Heels are peaking at the right time and now have wins over Virginia Tech, Duke, Marquette and Baylor in recent weeks.
UNC will face UCLA in a battle of blue bloods for a spot in the Elite Eight. North Carolina is 10-3 all-time vs. the Bruins.
Duke took care of business by beating Cal State Fullerton and Michigan State in the opening weekend. However, it was hardly a cakewalk — Duke’s win over the Spartans had the intensity of a Final Four game. The Blue Devils needed late-game heroics from Paolo Banchero and Jeremy Roach to survive Michigan State’s upset bid.
Duke will face No. 3-seeded Texas Tech on Thursday. If the Blue Devils win, it would be Mike Krzyzewski’s 100th career victory in the NCAA Tournament.
The ACC is currently No. 5 in KenPom’s conference ranking.