Yesterday afternoon on UNC Athletics’ web site, GoHeels.com, the ACC part of the North Carolina basketball schedule was released. It’s the first time ever that the schools will be playing 18 conference games. And while we all know that games are won (or lost) on the court, for a team that has lost four starters this seems like a truly tough schedule on paper. As I looked at the schedule I kept thinking about the CBS article where other coaches called head coach Roy Williams over rated, and then wondered how well they would be able to navigate through this type of schedule.
As you can see the Tar Heels will play Duke (2nd in 2011-12), Florida State (3rd), Virginia (3rd), N.C. State (4th), Miami (Fl) (5th), Maryland (7th) and Virginia Tech (10th) in a home and home series. Of these seven opponents all but VT had overall winning records last year, while both MD and VT were the only two programs to have a losing record in the ACC last season. Duke was ranked for the whole `11-`12 campaign, ranging from the lowest of 10 to the highest of 3. FSU was in the polls 13 weeks (out of 18), with four being in “others receiving votes” and the highest being 15. UVa was in the polls 12 times, once again four times being in “other receiving votes” and their highest going up to 15. There is no doubt that this schedule is a hard one and that it is going to take for the coaching staff to get this team ready for the season and for the players to be ready to step up and take over for the quartet that will be in the NBA this coming season.
As far as television coverage for the season, there is no excuse not to be able to see the squad all year long, at least when it comes to the conference games. Thirteen games will be shown on ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU, three will be on the ACC Network, one on CBS and on will be on both ESPN and the ACC Network as well. For those that can not see the games on the ACC Network will have the option of seeing them on ESPN3 (on the internet). Not to beat a dead horse, but I guess that the world leader in sports and other networks do not think that the coach is over rated if they are willing to have all these games on their airwaves, including two that will be part of ESPN’s College Game Day slate.
For the Atlantic Coast Conference it seems that change has been a key word for a while now. First with the addition of both Syracuse and Pittsburgh, who will be coming into the conference next season, then with the first ever 18 game schedule in basketball, which is a long way away from the 11 league games in the ACC’s inaugural season in `53-`54. I am truly looking forward for both some basketball and of course first some football so that we may stop reading/writing about off the field things and focus on the teams, and the student-athletes, themselves. And of course for all things North Carolina basketball and/or football make sure to come back often to isportsweb!