Al Featherston of the ACC Sports Journal recently ranked all 15 basketball programs in the future ACC, and he broke them down into three categories: superpowers, the middle class, and the have-nots. It’s a terrific article that features a lot of insight on each program, and I recommend that you read it if possible. It includes Louisville, Syracuse, Pitt and Notre Dame, and it throws out Maryland.
If you’re not an ACC Sports Journal subscriber, and you probably aren’t, I’ll go ahead and give you his program rankings, starting with the superpowers:
These are your elite programs in the ACC, with long winning traditions and national championships to their names. The next group, the middle class, makes up the majority of the ACC:
5: NC State
6: Georgia Tech
7: Notre Dame
10: Wake Forest
11: Boston College
Those are your middle-of-the-pack teams, with good basketball history, but who are lacking at least once thing that keeps them making the jump into the superpower section. NC State is definitely the closest, with two National Championships and great facilities. Finally, four teams made his have-nots list:
12: Florida State
15: Virginia Tech
That’s right, Virginia Tech ranks dead last. Featherston was ranking teams on a history of postseason, recruiting base, program support, and other such things that make a strong foundation. Here are some of the factors that led the Hokies to being ranked dead last:
1: VT’s best basketball moment – at least in the eyes of its fans – was an NIT Championship. Not an NCAA Tournament run, but an NIT Championship.
2: VT has been ranked in the final AP Poll just once in school history, when they finished #22 in 1996.
3: Only eight NCAA Tournament appearances in the last 60 years, and only one Sweet 16 (1967).
4: A fan base that isn’t deeply rooted in supporting basketball, as compared to other ACC programs.
5: NC State ran off Herb Sendek, who made five NCAA Tournaments and a Sweet 16 while averaging 21 wins per season. That wasn’t good enough for NC State fans. At Virginia Tech, it would have been the best five-year run in school history.
6: Too remote to recruit consistently against other ACC programs.
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