Not long ago, the ACC was the most feared college basketball conference in the land, but the league is currently among the weakest power conferences in the sport. The Big 12 has dominated college basketball this year and the SEC has not been far off. Out west, even the Pac-12 has seen a revival, which has prompted a significant question: What happened to the ACC?. Analyst Seth Greenberg said the conference has lost its “sexiness.”
While on the Paul Finebaum ShowSeth Greenberg broke down what has changed for the conference and how its foes have been able to see such vast improvement.
“It’s real simple,” Greenberg said. “The league, they’re not doing as good of a job as maybe like the SEC or the Big 12 in the transfer portal. You think about how successful the SEC and the Big 12 are in the transfer portal, the team that took advantage of it? Obviously Wake Forest, they got Alondes Williams and they got Jake Laravia, they’re an NCAA Tournament team. The ACC did not do a good job of that and they’ve got to recruit better.”
When looking at the sports power shift, many eyes dart to the Auburn Tigers, who have flashed dominance all season, which has them as a national championship contender. Led by coach Bruce Pearl, the Tigers are a product of the SEC’s effort to improve on the hardwood.
“I think the reasons they’re not recruiting as well is the SEC — when (former SEC Commissioner) Mike Slive said, ‘We’re going to make a commitment to basketball,’ and they hired coaches and invested in the sport, a lot of those kids that might have ended up in the ACC are now going to the SEC,” Greenberg said. “Basically, the sexiness of the ACC is not as sexy now that there are more schools that are investing at that level to compete for national championships. Recruiting has dropped in that league.”
It would be easy to look at this season and blindly call it an anomaly, but the ACC has been trending in the wrong direction for the last couple of years. And it has become glaring now that it only has Duke sitting in the national spotlight on the cusp of March.
“Over the last three years: fourth, fifth and sixth-best conference in college basketball, according to KenPom,” Greenberg said. “This isn’t a one-year thing. The ACC’s got to get back to recruiting the very best players and competing at the very highest level.”
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The Blue Devils are the lone team in the conference with a top-25 ranking beside their name. Meanwhile, the Big 12 has both Baylor and Kansas in the top 10, which is a trend repeated by the Big Ten, which has Purdue and Wisconsin. The SEC has both Kentucky and Auburn in the top 10.