It was very likely a great weekend in the NCAA Tournament if you were an ACC school. The conference is boasting a 12-1 record in the tournament, and has six of its teams in the Sweet 16, something no other conference has ever done before. The best part about it all for the conference? It will be worth more than $30 million.
According to ESPN, the money comes from the basketball fund, a pool set aside by the NCAA to reward conferences for their teams’ success in the tournament. Each game this season is worth $265,791 and is to be paid out across the next six years, through 2022.
The six teams the conference is sending to the Sweet 16 include Duke, Virginia, North Carolina, Syracuse, Notre Dame and Miami. Pitt was the lone loss by the conference, falling to Wisconsin, who would go on to defeat No. 2 Xavier on an incredible buzzer beater.
“This is unprecedented, what’s going on,” Notre Dame coach Mike Brey told USA TODAY’s Nicole Auerbach. “I thought, at this year’s media day in Charlotte, that this league would show it’s the deepest and the best. It’s evolved into that. It really has. Delivering in the NCAA tournament is the ultimate.”
“I’m very proud when I look back and go, ‘Wow, we were 11-7 in that league.’ ”
When asked whether it was a tougher conference than the Big East at its best, Jim Boeheim told USA TODAY, “You know I’m never going to say that. It’s a very good conference, there’s no question about it. And as I’ve said many, many times we came from a great conference before and we’re in a great conference now. And I think it’s going to get better in the future from what I’ve seen.”
According to ESPN, the ACC became the first conference to guarantee itself more than $30 million in one tournament. Because no ACC team faces each other in the Sweet 16, it’s possible (but highly unlikely) to have them all in the Elite Eight, which would mean even more cash.
No matter who goes the furthest in the tournament or brings in the most money, it will be split among member schools. The fund was created to redistribute money from TV deals.