Nine ACC teams land NCAA bids

acc basketballLed by No. 1 overall seed Virginia and No. 2 seeds Duke and North Carolina, the Atlantic Coast Conference has tied the league record it set last season by placing nine teams in the 2018 NCAA Basketball Tournament.

The Cavaliers, Blue Devils and Tar Heels are joined by Clemson, Florida State, Miami, NC State, Syracuse and Virginia Tech among the field of 68 teams unveiled early Sunday evening.

Prior to last year’s nine selections, the ACC’s previous highest number had been seven, first set in 2007 and equaled in 2009 and 2016. The nine selections this year again leads all leagues and ties for the second most ever by any conference.

Virginia (31-2) is the No. 1 seed in the South Region and will open play in Charlotte on Friday against No. 16 UMBC (24-10). The Cavaliers will be making their 22nd NCAA Tournament appearance, their school-record fifth straight and their sixth in the last seven years under current head coach Tony Bennett. The Cavaliers are 29-21 all-time in the NCAAs, including Final Four appearances in 1981 and 1984. The No. 1 seed marks the third in the past five seasons and sixth overall for the Cavaliers.

Holding the No. 1 ranking both major polls and the most recent RPI, the Cavaliers will enter the NCAA Tournament as the New York Life ACC Tournament champion for the third time.

The ACC’s 37 all-time No. 1 regional seeds leads all conferences.

Defending NCAA champion North Carolina (25-10) earned the No. 2 seed in the West Region. The Tar Heels open Friday in Charlotte against No. 15 seed Lipscomb (23-9). UNC is set for its 49th appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The Tar Heels own a 123-45 all-time record in the tournament with NCAA Championships in 1957, 1982, 1993, 2005, 2009 and 2017. The latter three national titles came under the watch of current head coach Roy Williams, who is leading the Tar Heels to the NCAA Tournament for the 14th time in 15 seasons.

Duke (26-7) is seeded second in the Midwest Region and also opens on Friday in Greenville against No. 15 Iona (20-13). The Blue Devils are playing the NCAA Tournament for the 23rd consecutive season and 42nd overall. Duke is 108-36 in the tournament with NCAA Championships in 1991, 1992, 2001, 2010 and 2015. Head coach Mike Krzyzewski is the NCAA’s all-time leader in tournament victories, posting a 91-28 record in his 33 previous NCAA appearances as head coach at Duke.

Clemson (23-9) draws the No. 5 seed in the Midwest and will face No. 12 New Mexico State (28-5) on Friday in San Diego. The Tigers will be making their 12th all-time NCAA Tournament appearance and their first since 2011. Clemson owns an all-time 9-11 record in the NCAAs.

The Midwest Region has a definite ACC flavor with NC State (21-11) seeded ninth. The Wolfpack, under first-year head coach Kevin Keatts, will face Seton Hall (21-11) on Thursday in Wichita. NC State is 37-25 in 26 previous NCAA Tournament appearances, including NCAA championship runs in 1974 and 1983. NC State last made the tournament field in 2015.

Virginia Tech (21-11) drew the No. 8 seed in East Region and faces Alabama (19-15) on Thursday in Pittsburgh. The Hokies will be making their 10th all-time NCAA Tournament appearance and their second straight under current head coach Buzz Williams. It marks the first time since 1985 and 1986 that Virginia Tech has made the NCAA field in back-to-back years. The Hokies own an all-time NCAA mark of 6-9.

Florida State (20-11) is back in the NCAA Tournament field for a second consecutive year. The Seminoles are seeded No. 9 in the West will take on No. 8 seed Missouri (20-12) on Friday in Nashville. Florida State is 16-15 in 15 previous NCAA appearances and will be making its sixth trip to tournament under current head coach Leonard Hamilton.

Miami (22-9) earned the No. 6 seed in the South Region and will open play against 12-seeded Loyola-Chicago (28-5) on Thursday in Dallas. The Hurricanes are making their 10th all-time NCAA Tournament appearance and their fourth in seven years under head coach Jim Larrañaga. The Hurricanes are 8-9 all-time in NCAA Tournament play.

No. 11 seed Syracuse will be appearing in the NCAA Tournament field for the 39th time and for the 33rd under current head coach Jim Boeheim. The Orange (20-13) will face fellow No. 11 seed Arizona State (20-11) in Wednesday’s “First Four” game in Dayton. The winner will move on to face TCU (21-11) on Friday in Detroit. Syracuse owns a 65-38 all-time mark in the NCAA Tournament, including the 2003 national title.

The ACC is the winningest conference in NCAA Tournament history with a .660 winning percentage and is the only conference in the nation that has not had a losing record in NCAA Tournament play since 1987. League teams have combined to win a record 47 NCAA Tournament games the past three years while placing four teams among the Final Four and claiming two national titles during that span (Duke in 2015 and North Carolina last season).