ACC, AAC Schedules Highlight New Rivalries, Splintered Leagues
The ACC and the AAC both released their men’s basketball schedules this week, while the (new) Big East has yet to do so.
While the schedules highlight some exciting new league rivalries — Duke-Syracuse and North Carolina-Syracuse anyone? — they also illustrate the splintered natures of the new leagues.
In the old days, fans in the Northeast (and reporters, too) could simply focus on the Big East schedule to make plans for a given day or week.
Now, in one day you could theoretically have Duke at Syracuse at the Carrier Dome in the ACC; Creighton making its first appearance against St. John’s at Madison Square Garden in the Big East; and defending NCAA champion Louisville traveling to play UConn in Storrs in the AAC.
All in the same day.
Obviously, Duke-Syracuse would be the highlight of such a scenario, but if you’re a fan of Northeast basketball (or a reporter), such a hypothetical Saturday afternoon would either trigger a massive headache or a three-TV viewing party.
(Speaking of Duke-Syracuse, the Orange won’t move the basketball court to the center of the Carrier Dome for their historic Feb. 1 game, as the Post-Standard reported.)
The Big East schedule isn’t out yet, but there a couple of days that jump out in which the ACC and the AAC both have interesting games at roughly the same time.
In the non-conference, Dec. 28 is definitely a date to circle on the calendar.
On that date, Louisville visits Kentucky at 4 p.m. in what some believe could be a preview of a national semifinal or the national championship game. Kentucky won the NCAA title in 2012 and Louisville won it in 2013. Both teams have enough firepower to contend this year, too.
Also that day, Syracuse will host former Big East rival Villanova at 4 p.m. on CBS. It is one of two games the Orange have on their schedule against current Big East teams. They also visit St. John’s at MSG on Dec. 15.
As for conference games, on Jan. 11, North Carolina visits the Dome to play Syracuse at noon (ESPN), while Memphis visits Temple at 3 p.m. (ESPN2).
On Feb. 1, Duke visits Syracuse at 6:30 for the historic first league game between the perennial powers. Nothing really comes close to challenging that in the AAC that day, when Memphis visits SMU, Houston comes to Rutgers and UCF trips to Louisville.
On Feb. 22, Duke hosts Syracuse at 6 p.m. (ESPN2), while the American offers Louisville at Cincinnati at noon (CBS) and Temple at Memphis at 9:30 (ESPNU).
On March, Louisville visits UConn at 2 p.m. (CBS), and North Carolina plays at Duke at 9 (ESPN).
So I don’t see that massive headache day quite yet, but then again the Big East schedule hasn’t come out yet.
Meantime, here are a few other ACC and AAC games of note:
Jan. 4 – Duke at Notre Dame
Jan. 6 – Maryland at Pittsburgh
Jan. 15 – Notre Dame at Maryland
Jan. 25 – PIttsburgh at Maryland
Jan. 27 – Duke at Pittsburgh
Feb. 1 – N.C. State at North Carolina
Feb. 8 – North Carolina at Notre Dame
Feb. 12 – Duke at North Carolina; Syracuse at Pitt
Feb. 15 – Pittsburgh at North Carolina
Feb. 24 – Syracuse at Maryland
March 8 – North Carolina at Duke
Jan. 4 – Cincinnati at Memphis; Louisville at Rutgers
Jan. 9 – Memphis at Louisville
Jan. 11 – Memphis at Temple
Jan. 18 – Louisville at UConn
Jan. 21 – Temple at UConn
Jan. 25 – UConn at Rutgers
Jan. 30 – Cincinnati at Louisville
Feb. 1- Memphis at SMU
Feb. 13 – Louisville at Temple; SMU at Rutgers
Feb. 15 – Memphis at UConn; UCF at USF
March 1 – Louisville at Memphis; Cincinnati at UConn
March 8 – UConn at Louisville
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.