For all of the week's talk about the physical play and 47 personal fouls called in Duke's win Sunday over Wake Forest, the statistics indicate that ACC games are being officiated pretty much the same as years ago.
In the 1992-93 season, when North Carolina won the league race (14-2) and NCAA championship, the Tar Heels were called for an average of 16.6 personals per game in conference regular-season play.
Last season, Carolina won the regular season (13-3) and another NCAA title. That 2008-09 team averaged 15.6 personals in league regular-season games.
At the opposite end of the standings, N.C. State and Maryland each went 2-14 in 1992-93. The Wolfpack averaged 17.3 fouls and the Terps a league-high 21.1 in league regular-season games.
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A year ago, the last-place finisher was Georgia Tech (2-14), which averaged 20.3 fouls in league regular-season play.
Even if you go back to State's last NCAA title in 1982-83, when ACC teams played 14 regular-season conference games, the general trend holds. State went 8-6 (tied for third) and averaged 17.2 fouls.
What is interesting is that until the late '80s and early '90s, ACC teams played as much zone defense as any league in the nation. Carolina was largely man-to-man, and Mike Krzyzewski converted Duke from zones in 1980-81, but most of the other ACC teams relied heavily on zones.
The long-held theory is that teams commit fewer fouls while in a zone defense, but the stats don't really support that thinking.
In the 1950s and '60s, when ACC teams almost never played man-to-man, the league actually was a lot more physical.
The 1956-57 UNC team, which went 32-0 overall and 19-0 against ACC teams, counting wins over Duke and Wake in the Dixie Classic, averaged 18.3 fouls per game. Virginia, which finished 6-19 that season, averaged 16.8.
So go figure. Even the move from two officials to three in 1978-79 hasn't had much of an impact in the foul totals.
One thing that has changed - although there are no records to prove it - is where a lot of the fouls are called. Until the last 10 or so seasons, contact close to the basket was regulated about the same as on the perimeter. That's no longer the case. While a hand check 20 feet away from the basket rarely gets overlooked, pushing and shoving has become commonplace in the lane.