The ACC, one of the nation’s top basketball conferences, has gotten stronger over the past year with the addition of three Big East programs.
The University of Notre Dame became the latest program to join the rising conference as they announced on Sep.12, that they would move to the ACC in all sports except football. The Fighting Irish are the fourth team to defect from the Big East since September 2011. West Virginia (Big 12), Syracuse (ACC) and Pittsburgh (ACC) are the other three teams to leave the Big East. TCU was expected to join the Big East in 2012 but reneged on their agreement and is currently a member of the Big 12.
Before Notre Dame leaves the Big East they must pay a $5 million exit fee and provide 27 months notice according to Big East associate commissioner John Paquette. However, Big East commissioner Mike Aresco has said that the conference would negotiate with the Fighting Irish if they desired to leave the conference early.
While all of the ACC sports will benefit from the addition of Notre Dame, the biggest benefactor is women’s basketball. The Fighting Irish, the two-time reigning national champion runners-up, have won one national title and reached the Final Four three other times since 1995. They have also made 17 straight NCAA national tournament appearances and have posted a 432-135 record during this 17-year period. Overall, Notre Dame is 591-215 in 24 seasons under head coach Muffet McGraw.
The Fighting Irish has the fourth best recruiting class in the nation coming in 2012 according to ESPN HoopGurlz.
New look ACC
When Notre Dame does join the ACC, it will give the conference 15 members which would tie the Big East for the most members among the six power conferences. Syracuse and Pittsburgh have successfully negotiated buyouts and will join the ACC in 2013.
Since the women’s tournament began in 1982, teams from the ACC have won two national titles and have reached the Final Four 14 times. The 14 Final Four appearances is tied for the third most among the power conferences. The addition of the Fighting Irish jumps the ACC to three national championships and 18 Final Fours (second most). Notre Dame also gives the ACC three different teams that have won a national championship which would only trail the Big 12 (five teams with at least one championship). Maryland (2007) and North Carolina (1994) are the other ACC schools with national championships.
While the ACC garnered only four NCAA tournament bids in 2012, three of the four teams (Duke, Maryland and Miami) finished in the top-10 in the final AP national poll. The other team, Georgia Tech, reached the Sweet 16 for the first time in their program’s history. In addition, Virginia appears on the verge of returning to national prominence and several other teams have elevated their program in recent seasons.
Syracuse: The Orange have posted an overall record of 481-499 and made just four NCAA tournament appearances in their history. However, Syracuse has seen a bit of an upswing under seventh-year head coach Quentin Hillsman. Since Hillsman took over the program in 2006, the Orange are 120-80 and have made five straight postseason appearances. Hillsman, a top recruiter, has the sixth best recruiting class coming in 2012 according to HoopGurlz.
Pittsburgh: Like the Orange, the Panthers haven’t experienced a whole lot of success throughout their history. Pittsburgh has been more successful recently, as they have reached the postseason five of the past seven seasons. The Panthers are 152-128 since head coach Agnus Berenato took over the reins of the program in 2003.
North Carolina: The Tar Heels are the winningest program in ACC history. North Carolina had their streak of 10-straight NCAA tournament appearance streak snapped in 2012. They won 20 games (20-11) for the 10th time in the last 11 seasons in 2011-12. The Tar Heels have the nation’s 11th-rated recruiting class coming in 2012 according to HoopGurlz.
North Carolina St.: The Wolfpack have made seven postseason appearances in the past nine seasons. North Carolina State is 53-47 under fourth-year head coach Kellie Harper.
Duke: The Blue Devils are the second winningest program in ACC history. Duke, 114-26 under fifth-year head coach Joanne P. McCallie, has made 18 straight NCAA tournament appearances. They have tallied 30 or more wins in each of the last 12 seasons. Duke has the seventh best recruiting class coming in 2012 according to HoopGurlz.
Maryland: The Terrapins have made nine straight postseason appearances including eight trips to the NCAA tournament. Maryland is 252-86 under 11th-year head coach Brenda Frese. Frese has the nation’s 11th best recruiting class coming in 2012 according to HoopGurlz.
Virginia: The Cavaliers’ 25 wins under second-year head coach Joanne Boyle in 2011-12 were the program’s most since 2000. Virginia has recorded seven straight winning seasons and made the NCAA tournament in three of the past six seasons. The Cavs have the 27th-best recruiting class coming in 2012 according HoopGurlz.
Virginia Tech: The Hokies went 7-23 in head coach’s Dennis Wolf first season with the team. The seven wins last season was the program’s fewest since 1976-1977. Virginia Tech hasn’t posted a winning record since 2006-07.
Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons are entering a new era in 2012 as they will be under the direction of first-year head coach Jen Hoover. Wake Forest has made just one NCAA tournament appearance in their history. However, they went 20-14 in 2011-12 and have recorded winning seasons in three of the past four campaigns.
Georgia Tech: The Ramblin’ Wreck have posted seven straight 20-win seasons and made seven straight NCAA tournament appearances. Georgia Tech’s 26 wins (26-9) are their most under 10th-year head coach MaChelle Joseph. The Yellow Jackets’ 2012 recruiting class is ranked ninth in the country by HoopGurlz.
Clemson: The Lady Tigers are just 15-42 under fourth-year Itero Coleman. Clemson, 6-22 in 2011-12, hasn’t made the NCAA tournament since 2002. The good news for the program is that they have the 13th best recruiting class coming in 2012 according to HoopGurlz.
Boston College: The Eagles managed just seven wins (7-23) in 2011-12 and will be under the direction of new head coach Erik Johnson. Boston College has posted five winning seasons in the past seven years.
Florida State: The Seminoles had their streak of seven straight NCAA tournament bids snapped in 2011-12 after finishing with a 14-17 record. Florida State is 272-191 under 16-year head coach Sue Semrau.
Miami: The Hurricanes have made two straight NCAA tournament appearances. Miami has the 19th best recruiting class coming in 2012 according to HoopGurlz.