ACC Looking at Expanding the Basketball Schedule to Eighteen Games

Two weeks ago, I mentioned that one of the ACC's biggest offseason stories would be (again) looking into expanding the conference basketball season to 18 games. For the third straight season, the current system of scheduling has been a talking point.

Last year, Virginia won a share of the ACC regular season crown with what was, statistically, the weakest schedule in the conference. This past season, Virginia Tech played UNC, Duke and Clemson just once apiece ... and that may have cost them an NCAA Tournament bid.

Now, the ACC may look into expanding the season from 16 to 18 games.

The Big East, Big Ten and Pac-10 all play the 18-game schedule and it hasn't hurt them come tournament time. The ACC is currently in a tournament funk (getting bids and winning games) and losing those bids to teams from those conferences.

Some say that adding the two extra games actually hurts the conference's RPI because it means those bad teams have to play more games, too. True, but one of the reasons the ACC continues to sit near the top of those RPI standings is because their "bad" teams are usually better than the other league's "bad" teams.

Typically the lower level teams in the ACC still can stick with the best of the bunch. Last season, Boston College and Virginia put scares into #1 ranked North Carolina. That's what has made the ACC what it is.

Now, there would be the worry that it would cannibalize the league a bit. I don't see it that way: I see it as giving an opportunity for those bubble teams to get an extra game or two against the ACC's top teams, pumping up their RPI and giving them a shot to get a big win or two on their tournament resume. It may cost a UNC or Duke a loss on their record, but could give a Florida State or Virginia Tech that one extra win they need to get in.

The ones who hate this idea is the coaches, of course. They say the ACC season is hard enough and that adding those two games who hurt their non-conference scheduling. The conference ... outside of Clemson ... prides itself on taking on anyone anywhere (well, as long as anywhere for Duke is New York).

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