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When ACC Teams Lose Season Openers

It's not that often but it does happen.

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Duke hasn't lost a season opener since Jason Williams was a freshman in 2000
Duke hasn't lost a season opener since Jason Williams was a freshman in 2000
Craig Jones/Getty Images

The fact a pair of ACC teams lost their openers this season is not as unusual as it might seem, even considering that such games are routinely engineered to produce victories.

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Counting this past weekend, three of the past five ACC seasons began with losses by conference teams. One of those websites that tries to forcefeed you audio commercials while you read copy, dubbed the 2015-16 start "perhaps the most unusual opening weekend of upsets in modern college hoops history."

Well, not from where we’re sitting, at least not from an ACC perspective.

Sure, Virginia Tech lost to Alabama State, a SWAC team that hadn’t won anywhere on the road since 2013 and last beat a Division I opponent to open a season in 2007. But the Hokies are hardly an ACC power; certainly they aren’t right now.

Remember it was only two years ago that Miami lost at home to St. Francis of Brooklyn, which rebuilding Boston College defeated in this year’s debut. The Terriers popped up repeatedly in recently seasons as an opening opponent for ACC schools.

More shocking was NC State’s home loss to William & Mary, coached by former UNC walk-on Tony Shaver, his chief assistant an ex-UNC reserve guard, Jonathan Holmes. Of course the Wolfpack lost a key player, 6-4 wing Terry Henderson, early in the game to an ankle injury.

Last season every ACC squad won its opener.

League teams rarely dare road games to start the season, apparently for good reason. In 2014 one of three ACC losers out of the blocks was BC, playing on the road at Providence. In 2013 UVa lost at George Mason to open the season.

Other debut losers: in 2014 Miami against St. Francis and Virginia Tech against USC Upstate; in ’13 Florida State against South Alabama and Maryland vs. Kentucky.

ACC teams were 12-0 in 2011 and 2012 openers, back when the league had only a dozen members.

Last Time ACC Teams Lost In Openers
School Season Opponent 2015-16 Opener
BC 2014 @ Providence W St. Francis, Brooklyn
Clemson 1985 Tenn. Tech W NC Central
Duke 2000 Stanford W Siena
FSU 2013 South Alabama W Nicholls State
Ga. Tech 1994 Michigan W Cornell
Louisville 2004* Iowa W Samford
Miami 2014 St. Francis, Bklyn W Texas Rio Grande Valley
UNC 2005 Santa Clara W Temple
N.C. State 2016 William & Mary L William & Mary, 68-85
Notre Dame 1999* Miami (Ohio) W St. Francis, Pa.
Pittsburgh 1997* Illinois State No Result, Gonzaga, canceled at half
Syracuse 2004* Charlotte W Lehigh
Virginia 2013 George Mason W Morgan State
Va. Tech 2016 Alabama State L Alabama State, 82-85
Wake 2011 Stetson W Maryland Baltimore County
* Prior to ACC membership.