When the current ACC configuration came into being, there were lofty expectations. Indeed, the idea was that it would be out of this world. It would have a firing squad of elite programs – Duke and North Carolina joined by the likes of Louisville and Syracuse – along with many programs just a notch below them. The more recent Big East – the one that one year sent 11 of its 16 teams to the NCAA Tournament – would have nothing on this ACC.
But those expectations were slow to materialize. The conference’s first two years with this look has produced good, not great results. There have been unforgettable games, like both of the Duke-Syracuse games in the first year, and the talent has been undeniable. Still, the ACC hasn’t looked like the clear class of college basketball. The Big 12 and Big Ten have shined more brightly thus far.