Six of the Sweet 16 teams hail from the ACC, which breaks an NCAA record for the most teams from one conference to remain alive this late in the Big Dance, according to Nicole Auerbach of USA Today.
ESPN College BBall noted the achievement, with North Carolina, Duke, Syracuse, Miami, Virginia and Notre Dame all still in the hunt for the national title heading into the next round:
The ACC is the first conference to ever have 6 teams make the Sweet 16 in the same season. pic.twitter.com/JJAa3XJi3X— ESPN College BBall (@ESPNCBB) March 21, 2016
ESPN Stats & Info shared that the conference broke its own record of five from last year, which was tied with the Big East bunch from 2009:
Most Teams in Sweet 16— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 21, 2016
Single Conference in NCAA Tournament
2016 ACC 6
2015 ACC 5
2009 Big East 5
Last year, the six ACC teams selected for the tournament combined for 17 wins—tying an NCAA tournament record, per Keith Lipscomb of ESPN.com. Duke accounted for six of those victories in its national title run.
This is the 33rd time in the past 37 years the ACC has had multiple teams reaching the Sweet 16, per Lipscomb.
However, Jeff Eisenberg of Yahoo Sports added context by stating the ACC didn’t necessarily face the most daunting competition en route to the record this March:
Six Sweet 16 teams for the ACC is a new record. ACC went 12-1 this weekend, though its teams did not beat anyone seeded seventh or better.— Jeff Eisenberg (@JeffEisenberg) March 21, 2016
Notre Dame was the only team among the six that had a close call in the second round, narrowly hanging on to a 76-75 win on Sunday over a Stephen F. Austin team that upset West Virginia in the first round.
Syracuse is the only Sweet 16 team from the ACC that didn’t finish better than .500 in regular-season conference play. The Orange were a bubble team for the bulk of the season but narrowly got in after finishing 19-13 and 9-9 in the conference.
But counting out head coach Jim Boeheim’s crew at this time of year is unwise. The Orange have reached the Final Four under Boeheim four times.
Both Syracuse and Notre Dame joined the conference prior to the 2013-14 season and have clearly proven to be worthy additions. Louisville also joined that year, and this year it finished 16th in the final Associated Press Top 25 poll. However, the Cardinals were not eligible for the Big Dance because of a self-imposed postseason ban.
Adding to Sunday’s feat, North Carolina and Virginia represented the conference as the No. 1 seeds in the East and Midwest Regions, respectively. It’s the fifth time in conference history that two teams have accomplished that feat, according to Barry Jacobs of SB Nation's Duke Basketball Report.
The odds that the ACC has a representative in the Final Four in two weeks are strong.
In fact, there are still teams alive from the conference across all four regions, including the No. 1-seeded Tar Heels and Cavaliers, which theoretically could create an all-ACC Final Four.
Such a situation would be unprecedented. But it’s not out of the realm of possibility.