On Tuesday, news started to leak out that the ACC had announced who and where each of the league’s 15 teams will be playing their 18 games next season. Each team will be playing four home-and-home series while playing the other 10 teams in the league once each, five at home and five on the road.
And in perhaps the least surprising decision, Maryland will not be hosting Duke. Or North Carolina. Or NC State. It makes sense. The Terps almost tore apart the ACC by ditching the conference for the Big Ten to stabilize their athletic department’s financial situation by chasing the almighty dollar. It forced the league to sign a grant of media rights deal. And you thought the ACC was just going to let that slide without doing what they could to fire back? L. O. L.
Here are some other interesting notes:
– Duke will obviously be playing their home-and-home with North Carolina, but the other home-and-home series that will draw quite a bit of intrigue for the Blue Devils will be against Syracuse. If CJ Fair returns, both will be top ten teams. Can you imagine what the Carrier Dome will be like for Duke’s first trip up there? How much Orange will the Cuse be able to get into Cameron Indoor?
– Syracuse will also host North Carolina, another team that looks like they are going to spend much of the season in or around the top ten. That’ll be fun as well.
– I’m glad that the ACC has Syracuse as an annual partner with Pitt, meaning that they’ll play twice every season. That was always an underrated rivalry in the Big East.
– Virginia only plays Duke, UNC and Syracuse once each. The Cavs should be pretty good next season. That’s a favorable schedule, especially considering that they host both the Tar Heels and the Orange.
– Florida State draws home-and-homes with Clemson, Virginia, Maryland and Miami. They avoid Duke, UNC and Syracuse twice as well, but this is only significant is they end up landing Andrew Wiggins.
The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 10.3 points per game, while shooting 42 percent from three, as a freshman. He, along with Malcolm Hill and Michael Thorne Jr., is one of three returning players who averaged double figures last season.
This could prove to be a make-or-break year for John Groce, who enters his fifth season at the helm. He guided the Illini to an NCAA Tournament in his first season, but hasn’t been back since.
The key for the Illini is health. Abrams gives them experience and leadership, but it won’t be a surprise if there’s some rust in his game after spending the past two seasons on the sideline. Having a healthy Coleman-Lands will help stabilize the backcourt, while Hill, an all-conference caliber forward, and Thorne anchor the frontcourt.
Like Alkins, Jones was a sought-after scorer. The 6-foot-4 two-guard was rated No. 69 overall in the Class of 2016 by Rivals. He picked Indiana over offers from Cal, Cincinnati, Georgetown and more than a dozen other high-major programs.
Jeter, the 6-foot-10, played in a reserve role as a freshman, averaging 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game last season. He will be part of a loaded frontline that includes heralded freshmen Harry Giles and Marques Bolden, as well as redshirt senior Amile Jefferson, who returns to the lineup following a foot injury.
The greatest player in Auburn program history will honored with a statue outside of the team’s home arena.
The university announced that Charles Barkley, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, will be the fourth athlete to be given a statue, joining Heisman Trophy winners Bo Jackson, Pat Sullivan and Cam Newton.
“It just means a great deal to me,” Barkley said in a statement. “Being a kid from Alabama, going to Auburn. I think everybody knows what Auburn means to me. It’s going to be pretty cool.”
Barkley, currently working as an analyst for TNT, was the SEC Player of the Year in 1984, as well as a second team All-American. He averaged 14.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game in 84 appearances for the Tigers.