Duke, UNC save their games for season's end
College basketball fans will have to wait a little longer than normal to see North Carolina and Duke play this season.
The UNC-Duke rivalry won’t start until Feb. 18 at Cameron Indoor Stadium (9 p.m., ESPN/WRAL) – the latest scheduled first meeting ever between the two teams. The teams will close their regular seasons at the Smith Center on March 7 (6 p.m. or 9 p.m., ESPN).
The full schedules for ACC basketball teams were released by the conference on Wednesday.
The visit to Cameron will conclude a tough stretch for the Tar Heels, who play at Louisville on Jan. 31, host ACC champion Virginia on Feb. 2 and then play three straight road games against Boston College (Feb. 7), Pittsburgh (Feb. 14) and Duke. It will be the first time since 2001 that UNC plays three straight road games.
UNC will play four of its final six ACC games against either Duke or Georgia Tech. The Tar Heels face the Yellow Jackets on Feb. 21 and visit Atlanta on March 3.
The Tar Heels open the season on Nov. 14 at home against N.C. Central. The non-conference schedule is highlighted by a game at home against Iowa (Dec. 3), at Kentucky (Dec. 13), in Chicago against Ohio State (Dec. 20), and in the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament, featuring Butler, Oklahoma, UCLA, Florida, Georgetown, Wisconsin and UAB (Nov. 26-28).
UNC’s 18-game league schedule includes home-and-home matchups against Duke, Georgia Tech, Louisville and NC State; home games against Florida State, Notre Dame, Syracuse, Virginia and Virginia Tech; and road contests at Boston College, Clemson, Miami, Pitt and Wake Forest.
The Tar Heels play at N.C. State on Jan. 14 and host the Wolfpack on Feb. 24.
“We want a great schedule,” Roy Williams said in a statement, noting that his strength of schedule is always in the top 50. “This one may be a little off the charts.”
UNC opens ACC play at Clemson on Jan. 3, faces Louisville in conference play for the first time on Jan. 10 and doesn’t have a scheduled game in the state of Virginia for the first time since the 1961-62 season.
A home-and-home series with new ACC rival Syracuse and a first-ever trip to Louisville for a conference game highlight Duke’s schedule.
The Blue Devils and Orange split their ACC games last season, Syracuse’s first as an ACC member, with each team winning memorable games on their home courts.
This season, Duke plays at Syracuse on Feb. 14 – four days before the first showdown against UNC – with the Orange traveling south to play the Blue Devils at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Feb. 28.
The schedule shapes up so Duke plays Syracuse and North Carolina in four of its final seven ACC regular-season games.
Duke’s game at Louisville will be Jan. 17 at noon. As the games with Syracuse (Jim Boeheim) and North Carolina (Roy Williams) do, the game with the Cardinals will match Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski against another Naismith Hall of Fame head coach (Rick Pitino).
Also, since Krzyzewski enters this season with 983 career wins, the Louisville game marks the first chance possible for him to gain career win No. 1,000. The Blue Devils would have to be 16-0 entering the Louisville game for Krzyzewski to have a chance to get No. 1,000 that day.
Duke opens ACC play at home with Boston College on Jan. 3.
In addition to the trips at Syracuse, Louisville and UNC, the Blue Devils will play N.C. State at Raleigh’s PNC Arena on Jan. 11 and Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, on Jan. 28.
Duke’s only game with reigning league champion Virginia will be Jan. 31 at Charlottesville, Virginia. That will complete a tough stretch of three consecutive road games – at St. John’s (Jan. 25), at Notre Dame (Jan. 28) and at Virginia (Jan. 31) – over a seven-day stretch.
Currently, all but six Duke games are scheduled to be televised on a national basis via one of the ESPN channels, Tru TV or CBS. The only games not slated for any television broadcast at this time are Fairfield (Nov. 15), Wofford (Dec. 31) and at St. John’s (Jan. 25).
Duke’s game against Boston College on Jan. 3 will be on the ACC’s regional sports networks, which is Fox Sports Carolinas in the Triangle. The games with Wake Forest (Jan. 7 in Winston-Salem, March 4 in Durham) will be on the ACC Network, which is WRAL in the Triangle.