ACC Vs. Big East: Which Conference Is Better?
Every year, fans across the country have the same debate: Which conference is better, the ACC or the Big East?
Accuracy of Conference Name
Atlantic Coast Conference
All of our teams are on the Atlantic coast of the country, located in states bordering the Atlantic Ocean. The most inland team is probably Virginia Tech, in Blacksburg, and the Big East can gladly take them back.
Big East Conference
Teams are in the Eastern region of the country—except for those teams in the Midwest, like Notre Dame (Indiana), DePaul (Illinois), and Marquette (Wisconsin), or in the South, like Louisville (Kentucky).
Advantage: ACC. I should also point out that at least all of the ACC teams also play football within the ACC conference, unlike the Big East (Villanova, for example).
Teams are in big cities (Boston, Atlanta, Miami, Washington, DC) or great college towns (Charlottesville, Raleigh/Durham).
Teams are in big cities (Chicago, Washington, DC, New York), great college towns (Louisville, Notre Dame), and cold (Syracuse, Storrs, Milwaukee), miserable (Pittsburgh, Morgantown), or boring (Cincinnati) cities.
Most of the mascots cancel each other out, as follows:
Eagles: Marquette Golden Eagles, Boston College Eagles
Devils: DePaul Blue Demons, Duke Blue Devils
Religious: Providence Friars, Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Dogs/Wolves: Connecticut Huskies, Georgetown Hoyas, NC State Wolfpack
Cats: Pittsburgh Panthers, Cincinnati Bearcats, Villanova Wildcats, Clemson Tigers
Nature: St. John’s Red Storm, Miami Hurricanes
People: Seton Hall Pirates, Rutgers Scarlet Knights, West Virginia Mountaineers, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Florida State Seminoles, Virginia Cavaliers
Birds and Bees: Louisville Cardinals, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Farm: University of South Florida Bulls, Virginia Tech Hokies, University of North Carolina Tar Heels (mascot is a ram)
This leaves an Orange (WTF) and the mighty Terrapin. Who is scared of an orange? Fear the turtle.
Each team in the ACC plays a home game against all other ACC teams. Each team faces two permanent conference rivals for a home-and-away series, and the nine other teams are split into groups (three home-and-away games, three home-only games, three away-only games).
The Big East, a larger conference than the ACC, also has too many teams to accommodate a home-and-away series. In the Big East, teams will face 12 opponents once and three opponents twice.
Advantage: ACC. ACC teams face five opponents twice in a season (41 percent of the conference), while Big East teams only face three opponents twice (16 percent of the conference). It’s more challenging to face an opponent twice in a season than once, especially given how quickly teams can rise or fall in a month or two.
The ACC plays in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge every year. The ACC has won 10 of the 11 challenges since inception.
The Big East finally started a similar invitational in 2007, playing the SEC.
Advantage: ACC. We did it first. The Big Ten is traditionally stronger in basketball (Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan State) than the SEC (Kentucky, maybe Florida), boosting the ACC’s strength of schedule.
Conference Tournament Location
Rotating host site but most frequently held at the horrible Greensboro Coliseum, which makes it a local game for four or five teams (if you count Clemson). The ceiling leaked during this year’s tournament, resulting in a game delay.
Madison Square Garden.
Advantage: Big East
Memorable Conference Tournament moment
2004 ACC Tournament: Maryland beat NC State, Wake Forest, and Duke to win the ACC Tournament for the first time since 1984!
2006 Big East Tournament: Villanova player Allan Ray’s eye came out of its socket when someone poked him in the face. I am still scarred by seeing this.
Per RealTimeRPI, as of March 14, 2010:
One team in the top 10: Duke.
Three teams in the top 10: West Virginia, Syracuse, and Georgetown.
Advantage: Big East, although the AP/ESPN Top 10 also includes New Mexico, and I therefore can’t take it seriously.
2009-2010 Strength of Schedule
Per Ken Pom, as of March 14, 2010:
Two teams in the top 10: Duke and Maryland.
Two teams in 10-20: Clemson and Florida State.
Two teams in the top 10: Syracuse and West Virginia.
Two teams in 10-20: Georgetown and Villanova.
Advantage: Even —with an edge to the ACC since we have fewer teams in the conference overall, so a greater percentage of ACC teams is represented.
Coach of the Year Gary Williams, 32 seasons as head coach. Collegehoops.net Maryland preseason rank: fifth in the ACC. Final conference rank: first.
Coach of the Year Jim Boeheim, 34 seasons as head coach. Bigeast.com Syracuse preseason rank: sixth in the Big East. Final conference rank: first.
2009-2010 Conference Player of the Year
Player of the Year: Greivis Vasquez, Maryland.
ESPN: 19.5 points per game, 6.3 assists per game, 37 percent on three-pointers, 4.6 rebounds per game, 0.4 blocks per game, 1.7 steals per game
Player of the Year: Wesley Johnson, Syracuse.
ESPN: 16 points per game, 2.3 assists per game, 39 percent on three-pointers, 8.4 rebounds per game, 1.9 blocks per game, 1.7 steals per game
Advantage: Even —edge to ACC (ppg).
2009-2010 Bob Cousy candidates (best point guard in the country)
Greivis Vasquez, Maryland.
Scottie Reynolds, Villanova.
Overall winner: ACC!
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