Sure, there’s still an art to crafting a schedule. But with 20 ACC games, the ACC-Big Ten Challenge and, most likely, a multi-game tournament in the late fall, there’s not much room to maneuver.
Making matters easier, of course, ACC teams have plenty of money to arrange guarantee games that make it worthwhile for opponents to come for a competitive visit.
Since the league grew to 15 teams more than a half-decade ago, members have increasingly avoided contests on hostile floors outside the conference. Six ACC clubs played at least three times on opponents’ courts in 2014, with Boston College venturing out five times in coach Steve Donahue’s last season. Now no one confronts more than two road tests.
Of 21 true away games undertaken by ACC squads in 2019-20, a full third are mandated by the Challenge series with the Big Ten. Three more are traditional rivalry visits that alternate sites annually – in ‘19-20 Florida State at Florida, Georgia Tech at Georgia, and, in a more recently accepted in-state faceoff, Louisville at Kentucky.
For years, Mike Krzyzewski’s Duke teams were noted and criticized for schedules engineered to keep them either at home, or in neutral or friendly territory during the regular season. Now that practice is the rule rather than the exception around the ACC.
In fact it was the rule last season too, even with 18 league games, as Georgia Tech was the sole ACC club to attempt as many as three road outings. The Yellow Jackets lost at Tennessee and Northwestern, but did win at Arkansas.
Pitt’s single ’20 road game, at Robert Morris, is essentially a trip to the city’s suburbs. The Colonials of the Northeast Conference are playing in a new arena on their Moon Township campus.
|NOTHING VENTURED, SOMETHING GAINED
2019-20 Nonconference Games Played Before Hostile Road Crowds
(Asterisk Indicates ACC-Big Ten Challenge)
|School||Away||Opponents Faced On Road|
|BC||2||South Florida, Richmond|
|Mi||2||Central Florida, Illinois*|
|WF||2||Davidson (Charlotte), Penn State*|