The ACC has released their conference pairings for the next two seasons as they add Louisville into the mix and expand to 15 teams.
The way the schedule breaks down is that each team will be assigned two permanent rivals that they will play twice every season and two more league opponents that each team will play a home-and-home with, rotating annually. After that, the last ten games on the ACC schedule will be filled with five home games and five road games, one each against the other ten programs in the conference.
Some of the notable pairings:
Duke is permanent rivals with North Carolina and Wake Forest, meaning they will play home-and-homes every year, but they are not with N.C. State. UNC will get Duke and N.C. State twice every season while N.C. State and Wake will also face-off twice annually.
Louisville will draw Pitt and Virginia as their permanent rivals while Syracuse gets Pitt and Boston College.
Notre Dame got lucky, as their annual home-and-homes will come against Boston College and Georgia Tech.
But the new ACC schedule highlights the issue of having such an inflated conference. For example, Duke is likely going to be the favorite in the ACC next season, but it stands to reason that the two biggest challengers for the Blue Devils will end up being Louisville and Virginia. The Blue Devils only play them once each, with both games coming on the road.
It’s part of the reason that Virginia won the ACC this past season. That’s not to say the Cavs weren’t good or weren’t the best team in the conference, but it certainly didn’t hurt them that they only played Syracuse, Duke, Pitt, North Carolina and N.C. State once each.
But such is life in major college basketball these days.
When it comes to discussing some of the game of basketball’s best players, specifically those who went directly from high school to the NBA, a question that’s often asked is where said player would have attended college if forced (by rule) to do so. Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are among those who have been discussed in this manner, and in the case of LeBron he’s got connections to two programs within his home state of Ohio.
LeBron’s connected with the Ohio State program, which is outfitted by the Nike’s LeBron signature line, but there’s another program with an even closer connection. That would be Akron, which is led by head coach Keith Dambrot, and all he did was serve as LeBron’s high school coach at St. Vincent/St. Mary’s HS in Akron during the player’s freshman and sophomore years at the school. Also on those teams were two future Akron Zips in guard Dru Joyce and forward Romeo Travis.
Thursday the school announced that it would be honoring James, Joyce and Travis with bobble head dolls to be given out before Akron’s home games against Buffalo (February 16; Joyce’s bobble head), Bowling Green (February 26; Travis) and Ohio (March 1; James).
All three bobble head dolls are wearing Akron uniforms, which in the case of LeBron allows fans to think back and imagine what could have been. Season ticket holders guaranteed one bobble head per account (on each of the three giveaway days), with the first 750 fans in attendance to receive one as well.
NEW PODCAST: Indiana, Cal, troublesome trends and a weekend preview
The gang is back together again for another episode of the NBCSports.com College Basketball Talk Podcast, with Rob Dauster hosting and Raphielle Johnson and Scott Phillips joining him. Today’s episode touched on big wins picked up Thursday night by California and Indiana, discussing the performances of those teams and also touching on their prospects down the line.
Also discussed were the recent performances of Iowa State, Providence and Texas A&M (which are you more worried about?), and some of the top games on this weekend’s schedule headlined by Kansas visiting Oklahoma. And if you’re a fan of seafood, you may take umbrage with some of Rob’s comments at the beginning of the podcast.
As always, you can subscribe to the podcast on either iTunes or Stitcher, and there’s also a link to listen to this podcast below. Thanks for listening.