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Hot Starts With The Tar Heels

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North Carolina v Indiana
BLOOMINGTON, IN - NOVEMBER 30: Roy Williams the head coach of the North Carolina Tar Heels gives instructions to his team during the game against the Indiana Hoosiers at Assembly Hall on November 30, 2016 in Bloomington, Indiana.
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Crowing about the ACC’s 9-5 edge in this year’s challenge series with the Big 10 is inevitable, and deserved. The last time either conference won that decisively was 2011, when the Big 10 won 8 of 12.

In fact, this was the first time the ACC came out ahead since 2008, completing a run of 10 straight years it finished on top in the head-to-head competition.

What’s perhaps more interesting this year is that, hosting seven games, no ACC team lost on its home court. Meanwhile Virginia Tech won at Michigan and Pittsburgh prevailed at Maryland. (Yes, Pitt was the ACC representative in that last one.)

The results clearly are a testament to the advantage enjoyed by a team playing on its home court. The strength of the various home teams played a role too, regardless of where the games were played.

Still, No. 13 Indiana’s solid triumph over third-ranked North Carolina at Bloomington came as a bit of a shock. That won’t quell talk of the Tar Heels reaching the Final Four, nor should it. But the 76-67 result made clear that UNC isn’t on a cruise to the top.

The defeat also ended North Carolina’s seven-game winning streak to open the season. That might not seem like much compared, say, to the 18 times in 37 years Mike Krzyzewski’s Duke squads started a season with eight or more consecutive victories. But it’s the third-best start in Roy Williams’ 14 years at his alma mater.

Wins to Start UNC Season Under Roy Williams
Season W Prior to First L
2017 7
2016 3
2015 3
2014 2
2013 4
2012 5
2011 2
2010 4
2009 13
2008 18
2007 3
2006 3
2005 0
2004 6

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