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The ACC Being Completely Pointless And Awful Is The Weirdest College Basketball Thing I've Experienced

I've been thinking about it really since last season but with each passing day this season it's growing. ACC basketball sucks. It's not a lie, it's not hyperbole. It's rather pointless. Sure Duke is a top-10 team in the country right now, but other than that? No other team is ranked in the AP top-25. No other team is the top-30 in KenPom. No other team is in the top-30 in the NET. The next best team on the Barstool Sportsbook to win the title is UNC at 40/1. 

Again, it's just bad. So what the hell happened? First, you have to look at conference realignment. I'm 34-years old and grew up in Pennsylvania watching ACC basketball since my old man went to Wake Forest. I'm talking Randolph Childress, Joe Smith, Exree Hipp, Rodney Rodgers, Ed Cota, etc. It was a 9-team league where you could bank on Clemson sucking and a war up top. It was college basketball as much as the old Big East. Then realignment happens and the ACC lands - at the time - a bunch of awesome Big East teams. 

The league currently has teams that won titles in 2003, 2005, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2019. Pretty good! Except it all doesn't matter now. The league has gone to shit and it's the most shocking thing I've ever seen in college hoops. If you told 10, 15, 21, 25, shit even 30 year old me that the ACC would be at best the 5th best league in the country I'd call the cops on you. Can't have people like that walking around this Earth. But I'm being generous giving it the 5th spot. I'm basically giving them the nod over the Pac-12 despite not having an Arizona and UCLA. 

You can go team by team and figure out what went wrong on an individual level and some of it is weird. Wake Forest was relevant nationally until Skip Prosser suddenly died. Pitt was relevant until it felt like they were looking to move on from Jamie Dixon and he eventually takes the TCU job. Boston College, well, hey they had Jared Dudley that one year! Miami and Notre Dame were coming off high seeds and trips to the second weekend before being mediocre at best the last few years. Virginia won a title and then recruiting fell off. I stand by that. Tony Bennett always had NBA players in his system, he's not going to land the top 5-star recruits, but that next tier? That's where Bennett and Virginia should thrive. They've missed the last couple years and simply don't have NBA talent. 

Hell you could even look at the Barstool Sportsbook and look at the odds to win the conference this year

The ACC should NEVER have this big of a gap from the top team to the rest. It was never that way. You're talking about one of the two most historic conferences in the history of college basketball. You're talking about some of the biggest names. Now they are going through changes. K is leaving. Roy just left. Leonard Hamilton, Jim Boeheim and Jim Larranaga are all over the age of 70. You're looking at a likely new coach at Pitt. We're a long way from the days of K, Roy/Dean, Bobby Cremins, Dave Odom/Skip, Gary Williams, etc. That's not to say they won't make good hires like a Tony Bennett going forward, just where we currently are. 

Obviously the COVID year and NCAA Tournament being canceled is different. I'm talking about play on the court. This is the weirdest thing I've ever seen. Part of me can't believe the ACC is bad, but it is. They are losing to mid-majors. They are underperforming. Teams that were supposed to help build the league up are massively underperforming. Some of it is simple - Pitt going from Dixon to Stallings/Capel. But even a team like Syracuse has grossly underperformed based on KenPom ranking the last 3 years compared to the average of 2002-19. Is it a lack of development? Is it a lack of talent? They've made runs to save them in the NCAA Tournament but there is a concern there, especially what happens when Boeheim retires. Miami, is another team egregiously underperforming and it's the same sort of thing. They had a Shane Larkin or Bruce Brown or Angel Rodrigues or Ja'Quan Newton, etc. This year they already have losses to very average UCF and Dayton teams with its best win being Clemson. 

Maybe I'm being nostalgic, but all I can think about is how weird it is the ACC is just pointless. No one is a threat on a national level right now outside of Duke. That's not to say there won't be improvement or a team makes a run in the NCAA Tournament, but that'll be coming from a 6 or 7 seed. Not exactly what you think when it comes to the ACC.