When the NCAA Tournament brackets were announced, the ACC tied for the most with seven teams in the field. The Big 12 and PAC-12 also had seven teams represented in March Madness. However, after 48 games played, six teams still remained for the ACC on Sunday. Overall, the ACC went (12-1) in the first weekend, having Pittsburgh as the only loser.
The ACC has two No. 1 seeds, a three seeded Miami team, and fourth seeded Duke in the field. There was no surprise any of these teams made a run into the second weekend. However, Notre Dame and Syracuse gave the ACC the most Sweet 16 teams ever by one conference.
Here’s the breakdown of the ACC Sweet 16 teams.
No. 1 Seed North Carolina Tar Heels
The Tar Heels spent the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament establishing dominance in the second half. During their first round match up with FGCU, the Tar Heels had a one point lead at halftime. The second 20 minutes was a vintage performance by the preseason No. 1 team. They held the Eagles to 27 points, and cruised to an easy 83-67 victory, behind Brice Johnson’s 18 points, seven rebounds, and eight blocks.
During their second round win over Providence, the Tar Heels had another dominant second half. This time Johnson tallied a 21 point, 10 rebound, double-double. Four other players reached double figures, including Joel Berry and Justin Jackson scoring 15 points apiece.
North Carolina will face Indiana in their Sweet 16 match up. This game has the potential to be a classic contest on Friday.
No. 6 Seed Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Notre Dame may have had the toughest road out of the ACC teams to make the Sweet 16. They had to make a second half rally in the first round win over Michigan. Trailing by 12 points at halftime, V.J. Beachem took over down the stretch. He scored 18 points while not missing any of his 7 shots, including four 3-point makes. Interestingly enough, Rex Pflueger made the final two free throws to give the Fighting Irish a 70-63 win in round one.
In round two, it was Pflueger’s tip-in that gave the Fighting Irish the lead over Stephen F. Austin. With two seconds left in the game, Notre Dame had a couple of frantic attempts at the basket. The final one broke the hearts of the Lumberjacks, giving the Fighting Irish a spot in the Sweet 16. If it wasn’t for a certain game in Oklahoma City, this finish would have been the collapse of the day.
Notre Dame will face No. 7 seed Wisconsin in the bottom half of the east region. Both teams won on the final play of the game.
No. 3 Seed Miami Hurricanes
The Miami Hurricanes were overlooked in their second round match up against the Wichita State Shockers. Angel Rodriguez dominated early and finished late. His 28 points helped Miami jump out to a 21 point lead in the first half. Despite losing the lead for a moment, the Hurricanes answered with winning plays. They beat the Shockers 65-57. The Hurricanes also beat Buffalo by seven in the first round.
Their Sweet 16 opponent will be the Villanova Wildcats.
No. 4 Seed Duke Blue Devils
Duke defeated UNC-Wilmington by eight points in the first round opener. As the first game of the round of 64, the Blue Devils fell behind early and trailed by three at halftime. They turned up the pressure, and Marshall Plumlee was a catalyst for the Blue Devils. He scored 23 points, with 8 of 9 field goals coming on dunks.
In the second round match up, Duke used a dominant shooting performance to take a 23 point lead on Yale. In second half, the Blue Devils had to hang on for dear life. The Bulldogs cut the lead to three, but weren’t able to overcome the rough start. Duke finished it off with a 71-64 win, and secured the ACC’s second team in the Sweet 16.
Duke will play No. 1 seed Oregon in the Sweet 16 on Thursday.
No. 1 Seed Virginia Cavaliers
After an easy first round victory over Hampton, Virginia had to dig deep in their game against Butler. Forget defense, it was the Cavaliers’ offense that took over in the second half. The Cavaliers scored 54 of their 77 points in the final 20 minutes, behind Malcolm Brogdon’s 22 points.
Now the Cavaliers have one of the toughest opponents up next. They face No. 4 seed Iowa State in the Sweet 16 match up. Once again, Virginia will have to rely on their offense.
No. 10 Seed Syracuse Orange
Syracuse won both games by an average of 22 points. After crushing Dayton in the second half, the Orange had the same type of run to end the game against Middle Tennessee. They used a 35-11 run to win by 25 points. Early in the second half, Syracuse lost the lead, and the game seemed ready to be another classic. Then the Orange turned a 40-39 lead into a 75-50 win.
The only two double digit seeds are in the Midwest. The Orange will play No. 11 seed Gonzaga for a berth in the Elite 8.