As we all know, the ACC Tournament has been held in the state of North Carolina what seems like every year. We also know that teams in North Carolina have won a large amount of the ACC Tournaments. The geographic center of the ACC has been in the state up until this past year where the additions of former Big East schools has shifted the center into Laurel Fork, VA, which is about 87 miles NW of Greensboro. Many of us Terp fans ask ourselves, 'Does the ACC play favorites towards its North Carolina contingent under the guise of Greensboro and Charlotte being close to the traditional center of the ACC is a question?' Taking a look, there could be some validity and also the fact that the best teams in the ACC have generally come out of the southern state.
Here is a graph of the ACC Tournament locations through the years. The distances are just Google Maps (driving directions) from the college's campus to the city that the tournament is being held. Maryland is included and Louisville is not.
|Distances in miles||Greensboro, NC||Raleigh, NC||Charlotte, NC||Landover, MD||Atlanta, GA||Washinton DC||Tampa, FL|
|South Carolina *||183||225||93.1||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
What does this tell us? Of the 61 times the tournament has been hosted, only 11 of those have been outside of North Carolina. It also shows that the North Carolina teams do not have very far to travel most of the time. Here is a look at the average distances for each school. The league average is included; however, it is a little off because of the additions of Pitt, Cuse, and ND (South Carolina is included since they won once before they left the league to try the waters of being an independent.) These numbers account for the average distance a team has to travel every given year. It also includes the number of tournament wins each team has won and the average distance that the team had to travel when they won their tournaments.
|Rank||Team||Avg Miles||Wins||Avg Distance|
The average of the core seven teams with GT since they have been there the longest out of the additions is only 198.73 miles to any tournament, which is much less than the 368.37 miles with those teams. This data definitely shows how much larger the ACC footprint has become over the years. Of the winning teams, the average distance that they travel is only 141.71 miles. Other than Miami's one championship, Maryland is the team that has had to travel the furthest when they have won. Also with exception of Miami, every team that has won at least once, their average travel distance when they won is shorter than their total average distance traveled.
If we were to jump to conclusions it would be easy to say "Look!! Those NC school have won so many tournaments and have had home field advantage! Wake has only gone 24.3 miles! That is completely unfair." But we are a little bit more rational than that and know that those teams don't just win it every year as lowly seeded teams. So I compiled more graphs if you can just bare with me.
The first one just examines the teams that have won the regular season championship.
UNC takes the cake, with Duke getting one of the Giant Chocolate Chip cookie cake, and NC State is picking up the crumbs. This just shows that the team that wins the regular season most likely resides in the state of North Carolina, unfortunately.
The next graph looks at where each team won their ACC tournament championship, and at which seed they did it as.
|NC STATE||Raleigh||3 as #1||1 as #2||1 as #4|
|Greensorro||2 as #1|
|Atlanta||1 as #4|
|Charlotte||1 as #3|
|Landover||1 as #6|
|DUKE||Raleigh||3 as #1||1 as #4|
|Greensborro||3 as #1||2 as #2||2 as #3||1 as #6|
|Charlotte||3 as #1||1 as #2|
|Atlanta||1 as #2||1 as #3|
|Washington DC||1 as #3|
|UNC||Raleigh||1 as #1|
|Greensborro||5 as #1||2 as #2||1 as #3|
|Charlotte||3 as #1||2 as #2||1 as #4|
|Landover||1 as #2|
|Tampa||1 as #1|
|UMD||Raleigh||1 as #4|
|Greensborro||1 as #2||1 as #6|
|FSU||Atlanta||1 as #3|
|MIAMI||Greensborro||1 as #1|
|GT||Atlanta||1 as #1|
|Charlotte||1 as #3||1 as #6|
|UVA||Landover||1 as #6|
|Wake Forest||Raleigh||2 as #1|
|Greensborro||1 as #1||1 as #2|
|South Carolina||Greensborro||1 as #2|
As the graph illustrates, a vast majority of champions have come out of the #1 and #2 seeds. With both UNC and Duke having 10 and 9 #1 seeded championships respectively, and 5 and 4 #2 seeded Championships, they are the big brothers of the tournament. However, out of all of these Duke and UNC championships of #1 and #2 seeds, only three of them have come when tournaments were not in the state of North Carolina (Atlanta, Tampa, & Landover). Of Duke, UNC, NC State, and Wake's tournament wins which is a total of 50, only seven have not been won within North Carolina's borders. This is a large discrepancy, but most of the tournaments have been hosted in NC. These teams have demonstrated that they are best in the league, so winning it all does make sense; however, home field advantage definitely seems to come into play when most of these tournament victories come when it is hosted in North Carolina.
Two last graphs examine the tournament when it is hosted at Greensboro only. The first examines the wins at each seed per team. The data is a little screwy as I did not account for the fact that with the tournament expansion teams of lower seed play other teams of lower seed early on in the tournament. The data also does not include the results of the current tournament. But here it is.
|Numbers of Wins per seed||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||10||11||12|
|South Carolina *||0||3||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
So as the trend continues, the top seeds have a large number of the victories. Shout out to UMD for having the most 6+ seeded victories at 10 wins (but I am all sure that we would have rather had them finish higher in the regular season).
Here is a breakdown of the average distances traveled per victory at each seed.
|Seed||Distance in miles|
Sadly a #10 seed has never recorded a victory at Greensboro (until yesterday when Miami won). The other outlier at #11 is NC State. The data illustrates that if traveling any less yields better results it comes out of the #3 and #4 seeds as well as #1 and #2. The teams based in NC make up 26.7% of the league. They account for 61.54% of the wins from #3 and #4 seeds. They also account for 37.20% of the wins from #6 and lower seeds. There appears to exist an advantage as the teams that make up about a quarter of the league take higher percentages in games won when they are lower ranked teams. Depending on how you take it, that could be seen as home-field advantage.
So in all, the tournament being hosted in North Carolina definitely does not hurt the North Carolina teams. The number of times they have won the tournament could simply be explained by having a higher seed. However, having fan support as that higher seed is something every team wants, and can be seen as helping the lower seeded teams as well. Let me know your opinions. I apologize for any discrepancies in the data, everything is taken from the wiki pages on the ACC. Go Terps! And so long ACC tournament and the state of North Carolina.