The ACC released the match-ups in basketball for the next two seasons yesterday.
Here’s what Pitt looks like in graphic format:
Syracuse and Louisville are Pitt’s permanent “rivalry” games. That works for me. Both very good teams. I like that Big East connection and history. Yes it means Pitt will always have a tough ACC schedule, but that isn’t a bad thing.
The next pair are the home-and-homes for the season. I assume that they are planning on rotating the pairs to some degree. Which means it could well be five years before we see a UNC or Duke home-and-home.
The next group of five are the home ACC games. Then the last five are the road games. The ACC knows Duke and UNC are still the glamor programs that will draw the crowds. Every ACC team has UNC and Duke split as home-away each year.
It’s hard to really project out how the 2015-16 schedule will look in terms of difficulty. Right now it looks a touch easier than next season’s, but that can change quickly. I’ll keep most of my thoughts to the slate for next year.
It’s not brutal, but it will be a tough one. The home slate for Pitt is obviously keyed by games with UNC, Syracuse and Louisville. After that it is ND, FSU and Miami (I think Miami will be significantly better than this year). GT, Clemson (no more McDaniels) and BC.
On the road is a different story. Duke, Virginia, Louisville and Syracuse will all be ranked teams. Florida State and NC State will have talent but who knows what kind of team shows up. Then the bottom with Wake Forest, BC and VT — all three with new head coaches.
In terms of winning percentages in conference, Pitt is right in the middle of the pack with next year’s schedule. Louisville may get a marquee introduction with its schedule, but it is also the hardest looking one.
I know I’m repeating this, but I really do like having Syracuse and Louisville as permanent rivalry games for basketball. If they are going to do two permanent ones (which is a bit of a placation to the NC schools — Wake and NC State — who would have howled forever if they lost UNC or Duke from their annual home slate), I like playing teams for which I already have a healthy hate going.
The only downside is that it gives Jamie Dixon a little more cover to schedule a bit weaker in the non-con because he can point to the conference slate with a bit more ease. Eight of the conference games are against teams that were in the 2014 NCAA Tournament. And if I’m guessing for next year’s NCAA projections, I would put it at 9-11.
Interestingly, Virginia is really being cut a break. Their schedule is automatically easier with a VT as one of their permanent rivals. The counterbalance being Louisville being slotted as their other as the Cards assume the Terrapins spot. But on top of that, they get Wake and NC State as home-and-homes. Their schedule may look more daunting if ND comes back strong and Miami is as improved as I suspect — both road games. But otherwise they have the lightest schedule for a team projected to be in the upper-half of the conference.
Syracuse gets a second straight year of home-and-homes with Duke. Overall, the Orange have to like their schedule. Virginia and Louisville come to the Carrier Dome. Along with Miami and FSU. They only have two challenging road only games in UNC and ND.
Clemson. Poor Clemson. Not only is McDaniels gone, but their road only line-up is Duke, Virginia, Pitt, Louisville and Miami. They are being set up for mediocrity as a best case scenario.