The ACC recently released their conference basketball schedule, and it is par for the course when it comes to league schedules. (Patrick Stevens of the Washington Times provides the easiest to read breakdown.)
It’s an 18 game schedule, meaning that each team will play seven of the 11 other programs in the conference in a home-and-home. The good news is that most of the top teams will be playing each other twice. The only exceptions — NC State won’t have to make a return trip to Miami while Duke won’t get a chance to avenge Michael Snaer’s buzzer-beating three in Cameron last season.
There are some interesting results when looking at this schedule objectively, however.
There are three teams that, more or less, have been pegged a cut above the rest of the ACC this season: NC State, North Carolina and Duke.
The Wolfpack only has to play one game against Miami (who should be a top five team in the conference), potential tournament teams Maryland and Virginia, and Virginia Tech. Duke gets a top 25 team in Florida State just once, along with Virginia, Clemson and Georgia Tech.
But North Carolina?
The teams they play once all reside at the bottom of the conference. Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, Boston College and Clemson. That means that the Tar Heels have to play Duke, NC State, Florida State, Miami, Maryland and Virginia twice each. Assuming those are the top seven teams in the conference, the Heels are the only one of the group that has to play the other six teams twice. NC State only has to play three of them.
I don’t think that it would be overstating the situation to say that this is a huge advantage for the Wolfpack, one that is potentially worth a game or two in the standings.