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Headlines: ACC Hoops to Expand to 18? (Again)

Brian: For the second year in a row, ACC coaches will consider moving the men's hoops schedule from 16 ACC games to 18 during their meetings this week in Amelia Island, Florida. Andy Katz breaks down the different scheduling proposals:
  • Leave the hoops schedule alone - 16 games, 11 games against every team, 2 primary partners to play home-and-home yearly, 3 teams to play a second game against on a rotating basis
  • The Seth Greenberg proposal - 16 games, 11 games against every team and 5 teams to play a second game against on a rotating basis
  • The conference's proposal - A move to an 18 game schedule (like the Pac 10 and the Big East), 11 games against every team, 3 primary partners to play home-and-home yearly and 4 teams to play a second game against on a rotating basis
Also being considered is applying the Atlantic / Coastal divisional split to basketball.

None of these changes would be made until the current television contract expires after the 2010-2011 season.

Brian: My personal opinion is while the Seth Greenberg proposal certainly is more fair to the rest of the league, this will never, ever fly. There's really no shot that this will ever be considered solely because ESPN and the ACC's TV partners could possibly lose out on two regular season games between Duke and UNC in any given year. I really don't know what Greenberg is complaining about anyway. Virginia Tech gets Virginia and Boston College as their permanent scheduling partners. It's not like that is a murderer's row of ACC basketball powerhouses. Virginia Tech has been competitive with both teams since they joined the league in 2004 - 4-4 vs. Boston College and 5-6 vs. Virginia.

The real losers in the permanent scheduling partners setup are NC State (North Carolina and Wake Forest), Duke (North Carolina and Maryland), and recently - with Oliver Purnell raising Clemson basketball to respectability - Georgia Tech (Clemson and Wake Forest).

Jeff: Agree with you there. Seth Greenberg's proposal will never ever happen because they won't leave the posibility of Duke-UNC not playing twice a year.

Brian: I sincerely hope the ACC just says no to the divisional format. I've made it clear on the blog that I think the current ACC divisional alignment make no sense. I thought the two-division format stunk when the Big East adopted that format and had the Big East East and the Big East West. My thought pattern was confirmed when the Eagles won the Big East East with a record of 18-11 (10-6) in 2002-2003 and failed to make the NCAA Tournament.

Jeff: I would have no problem with going to divisional alignment. Duke and North Carolina would be on the same side so they would play twice but that would also be considered a problem because then they wouldn't be the #1 and #2 seeds in the conference tournament.

Brian: My guess is that an 18 game schedule - whether it gets approved this year or not - is an economic inevitability.

Jeff: I agree that the 18 game schedule will happen eventually but I see no downside to it as a fan because I'd rather see more ACC games. It also means more often that BC plays North Carolina or Duke twice a year which is a good thing for our program.

Brian: While I think that the conference will move to 18 games, I don't particularly like the move for the ACC's NCAA tournament hopefuls. I don't think the 18 game Pac 10 format has really helped get Pac 10 bubble teams into the Big Dance the past couple of years.

I think the 18 game format works for the Big East because there are so many damn teams. Play everyone once and you are already at 15 games, leaving 3 games to play an opponent twice in one season. To me, it seems like there are enough crappy teams towards the bottom half of the Big East standings - DePaul, Rutgers, South Florida, St. John's, Seton Hall - that the two extra league games probably aren't going to put a dent in Big East bubble teams' resumes. Still, the Big East and Big Ten have only had the 18 game format for one season so I think it's too soon to tell whether the two extra league games end up hurting or helping teams on the bubble come tournament selection time.

Jeff: The Big East is forced into the 18 game schedule because of the number of teams in the league, correct. But how can you argue against the 18 game Pac-10 schedule when Arizona making the field was the big surprise of the NCAA field last year. The ACC will see no major impact from going to an 18 game schedule. BC got snubbed a few years back when they were part of the Big East but there were non-conference losses and a poor Big East tournament showing that sealed our fate.