The Virginia Cavaliers were the ACC‘s last chance to gain any respect from all the other conferences in the NCAA, but after falling shorts against the Michigan State Spartans in the Sweet 16, the conference finished the season leaving a sour taste in fans’ mouths.
Virginia’s effort against the Spartans was something to be proud of in the moment and for the team itself, but the ACC’s season was a letdown considering what could have been.
The season started with high expectations for the Duke Blue Devils because Jabari Parker was one of the leading freshmen coming into the season. Along with Parker, Rodney Hood‘s inclusion was supposed to make Duke a national title contender. Instead, Parker went through his fair share of struggles and ultimately failed in his last two games of the season. Duke lost to the Mercer Bears in the second round of the tournament.
Duke is definitely the biggest disappointment of the season, but the North Carolina Tar Heels lost P.J. Hairston and never seemed like a real contender despite a mid-season 12-game winning streak. The Tar Heels blew a late lead to the Iowa State Cyclones in the third round of the NCAA tournament. The Tar Heels were a terrible 3-point shooting team and relied too much on Marcus Paige.
The Syracuse Orange were a highly-ranked team early the season, started 25-0, but fell off due to the lack of a true offensive player and a 2-3 zone that did not suffocate opposing teams as well everyone is accustomed to. Freshman guard Tyler Ennis also declared for the NBA draft and the Orange will once again need a new point guard.
Those four top teams had a lot of expectations coming into the 2013-14 season, but now no ACC team remains in the tournament. The ACC never seemed like real threat during the regular season, and the poor performance in the NCAA tournament validated skeptics’ thoughts. Maybe things will turn around next year.