Behind the bracket: Why the ACC is the best conference

Duke freshmen Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett and Tre Jones hope to make an impression at this season's tournament. Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The 2018-19 season is just about a month old. That doesn't make the first in-season bracket anything close to perfect, but it does reveal several trends that figure to continue throughout the long journey to March.

• The ACC is the best conference in the country. I measure "best" not by the total number of potential NCAA bids, but by the number of top-four seeds -- and, by extension, second-weekend teams -- it can project.

The most top-four seeds ever earned by a single conference is five (ACC, 2015), when Duke (No. 1), Virginia (No. 2), Notre Dame (No. 3) and both Louisville and North Carolina (No. 4s) entered the tourney as protected seeds. Our latest 2019 bracket lists five ACC teams on the top three lines -- Duke and Virginia as No. 1 seeds; North Carolina, Virginia Tech and Florida State as No. 3 seeds -- which would be unprecedented.