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The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

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The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

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The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

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Alex Borg poses for a photo with an accordion on Soldiers and Sailors Lawn.
Alex Borg: Her accordion anchors a ‘no-man Jimmy Buffett band’
By Patrick Swain, Culture Editor • 10:12 am
Opinion | CPCs, get off our campus
By India Krug, Senior Staff Columnist • 12:13 am

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Alex Borg poses for a photo with an accordion on Soldiers and Sailors Lawn.
Alex Borg: Her accordion anchors a ‘no-man Jimmy Buffett band’
By Patrick Swain, Culture Editor • 10:12 am
Opinion | CPCs, get off our campus
By India Krug, Senior Staff Columnist • 12:13 am

Column | ACC’s wins in tournament proves Pitt should’ve made it in

Junior+guard+Ishmael+Leggett+%285%29+high-fives+other+Pitt+players+during+Pitt+mens+basketballs+game+against+Canisius+on+Dec.+9%2C+2023.
Pamela Smith | Contributing Editor
Junior guard Ishmael Leggett (5) high-fives other Pitt players during Pitt men’s basketball’s game against Canisius on Dec. 9, 2023.

Selection Sunday is a national holiday among sports fans. While some teams are all but expecting a ticket, or have gained one through conference titles, the rest of the tournament hopefuls await that fateful Sunday. Pitt’s men’s basketball did not hear its name called on selection Sunday, a devastating blow for many Pitt fans. 

The selection committee cited Pitt’s lack of schedule strength as the main reason for the Panthers’ exclusion. This came after Pitt almost made the ACC Tournament finals after a close loss to No. 1 seed North Carolina. The comment on Pitt’s schedule is no doubt a knock on the ACC as a whole. While this debate has been off and on for years, the ACC’s showing in the NCAA tournament deserves to put those arguments to rest.

Five ACC teams garnered a bid to the tournament. Virginia lost to Colorado State in the First Four, marking the first blemish on the ACC’s record. NC State received their bid after winning the ACC Tournament. The Wolfpack was given a No. 11 seed. Another two, UNC and Duke, got their bids based on their records and overall strength. The Tar Heels were awarded a coveted No. 1 seed while the Blue Devils earned a No. 4 seed. 

This leaves Clemson. The Tigers ended their season with a conference record of 11-9, a one-game difference to Pitt’s 12-8 record. Similarly, Clemson lost to Boston College in the second round of the ACC Tournament. In both instances of overall season and late season play, Pitt had a better standing in terms of the ACC. Clemson likely gained a No. 6 seed over Pitt because the Tigers beat the Panthers twice in-season. 

ACC teams are having a stellar year in the tournament. Besides Virginia’s loss, the other four teams showed out, as they all made it to the Sweet 16. No. 6 Clemson upset No. 3 Baylor in the Round of 32. No. 11 NC State first upset No. 6 Texas Tech and went on to pass No. 14 Oakland. Both No. 1 North Carolina and No. 4 Duke breezed their way through their lower-seeded first two opponents.

As a conference, the ACC is dominating the field in the tournament. Compared to all other conferences, the ACC had the most teams in the Sweet 16 with four. The Big East was right behind with three. The Big 12, Big 10 and SEC followed with two each. At the same time, the ACC was only allowed five bids. 

The SEC, for example, gained eight bids and only saw two past the first round. But ACC skeptics will say it is a weak conference. Every conference with more bids than the ACC sent fewer teams to the Sweet 16. 

The rest of the tournament, so far, is proving the point that the ACC was overlooked. In the Sweet 16, the ACC went 3-1. No. 4 Duke upset No. 1 Houston, No. 6 Clemson upset No. 2 Arizona and No. 11 NC State upset No. 2 Marquette. The only fault was No. 1 UNC barely losing to No. 4 Alabama. 

In the Elite Eight, the ACC again held a majority of three teams. It is hard to deny that the ACC can compete with the other conferences when its teams are not just competing — they’re winning. 

To make its first appearance in the Final Four since 1983, No. 11 NC State again upset its ACC competitor No. 4 Duke. This shows ACC was obviously under-seeded, as the average seed for Final Four teams is . This is not to say upsets are not that common. In fact, they are what make the tournament enjoyable. 

However, this run by NC State, with an in-season conference record of 10-10, is even more evidence to show the ACC’s skill in men’s basketball. 

Pitt should have received a bid into the NCAA tournament. Pitt’s last regular season game saw the Panthers beat the Wolfpack for the second time. Pitt also went 1-1 with Duke. Who knows how far Pitt would have made it in the Tournament if they were given the chance? Due to the selection committee’s clear contempt for the ACC, fans will never know.

About the Contributor
Patrick Diana, Staff Writer