Feb 25, 2012; Winston-Salem, NC, USA; Boston College Eagles head coach Steve Donahue yells out to his players during the first half against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-US PRESSWIRE
The ACC's men's basketball 2012-13 conference opponents have been leaked piecemeal over the last few weeks. With Duke becoming the eighth school to release its conference opponents, D1scourse's Patrick Stevens has filled in the rest of the scheduling holes, determining the single-game opponents for all 12 programs.
To recap, the ACC is moving to an 18-game conference schedule starting this season. Boston College will face Clemson, Duke, Maryland, Miami, N.C. State, Virginia and Wake Forest twice this coming season, leaving Georgia Tech and North Carolina (home) and Florida State and Virginia Tech (road) as BC's single-game opponents.
Preseason predictions have the three Tobacco Road schools -- Duke, North Carolina and N.C. State -- pacing the league. Unfortunately, BC is one of five programs to play these three schools in a total of five games this season, joining Florida State, Georgia Tech, Maryland and Miami.
But where does the Eagles conference slate stack up to the rest of the conference? Using last year's regular season finish, Boston College has the most difficult schedule in the conference this coming season. Instinctively, this makes sense given BC can't play themselves and loses out on the points.
Here is the ACC's 2012-13 conference strength of schedule based on regular season finish (in parenthesis). Lower total score, the more difficult the schedule. Note: does not factor in home/road splits.
|#||By ACC Rank||BC||CU||DU||FSU||GT||UMD||MIA||UNC||NCSU||UVA||VT||WFU||Total|
|1||Boston College Eagles (12)||0||14||4||3||11||16||12||1||10||8||9||20||108|
|2||Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (11)||12||14||2||3||0||8||12||2||10||8||18||20||109|
|3||Maryland Terrapins (8)||24||7||4||6||11||0||6||2||5||8||18||20||111|
|4||Florida St. Seminoles (3)||12||14||2||0||11||16||12||2||10||8||9||20||116|
|4||North Carolina Tar Heels (1)||12||7||4||6||22||16||12||0||10||8||9||10||116|
|6||Miami Hurricanes (6)||24||14||4||6||22||8||0||2||5||4||18||10||117|
|6||Virginia Tech Hokies (9)||12||14||4||3||22||16||12||1||5||8||0||20||117|
|8||Wake Forest Demon Deacons (10)||24||7||4||6||22||16||6||1||10||4||18||0||118|
|9||N.C. State Wolfpack (5)||24||14||4||6||22||8||6||2||0||4||9||20||119|
|10||Clemson Tigers (7)||24||0||2||6||22||8||12||1||10||8||18||10||121|
|11||Virginia Cavaliers (4)||24||14||2||6||22||16||6||2||5||0||18||10||125|
|12||Duke Blue Devils (2)||24||7||0||3||11||16||12||2||10||4||18||20||127|
As you can see, Boston College has the toughest schedule in the conference next season, followed closely by Georgia Tech. Again, both BC and Georgia Tech get hurt because they can't play themselves so to some degree, you'd expect to see the teams that finished the regular season at the bottom of the league table at the top of this one. Then again, schools like Virginia Tech and Wake Forest are squarely in the middle of the pack here.
Of interest, Duke, which finished the regular season in second place behind Carolina, only has a single-game against both Florida State (3) and Virginia (4) and has the easiest conference slate within the conference.
Here's a slightly different look at conference strength of schedule based on final kenpom.com rankings.
|1||Boston College Eagles (259)||0||152||40||24||178||268||94||7||70||66||90||420||1,409|
|2||Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (178)||259||152||20||24||0||134||94||14||70||66||180||420||1,433|
|3||North Carolina Tar Heels (7)||259||76||40||48||356||268||94||0||70||66||90||210||1,577|
|4||Maryland Terrapins (134)||518||76||40||48||178||0||47||14||35||66||180||420||1,622|
|5||Florida St. Seminoles (24)||259||152||20||0||178||268||94||14||70||66||90||420||1,631|
|6||Virginia Cavaliers (33)||518||152||20||48||356||268||47||14||35||0||180||210||1,638|
|7||Wake Forest Demon Deacons (210)||518||76||40||48||356||268||47||7||70||33||180||0||1,643|
|8||Clemson Tigers (76)||518||0||20||48||356||134||94||7||70||66||180||210||1,703|
|9||Miami Hurricanes (47)||518||152||40||48||356||134||0||14||35||33||180||210||1,720|
|10||Virginia Tech Hokies (90)||259||152||40||24||356||268||94||7||35||66||0||420||1,721|
|11||N.C. State Wolfpack (35)||518||152||40||48||356||134||47||14||0||33||90||420||1,852|
Here Boston College and Georgia Tech once again run 1-2, while Duke again ranks last. There is some variation in between, mostly due to Georgia Tech (178), Wake Forest (210) and Boston College (259) ranked well below every other ACC program. The programs that get those teams twice will have a easier road. What I find most interesting about this analysis is the disparity in schedule strength between North Carolina (ranked 3-4th toughest) vs. N.C. State (9, 11) and Duke (12). If the Tobacco Road schools are going to pace the league this season, the strength of the conference schedule could be the deciding factor which determines whether Duke (N.C. State??) or North Carolina wins the conference's regular season title.