The ACC released its full 2015-16 schedule on Wednesday, allowing hoops fans to fill out the calendar in the final hours before the start of college football season. While many of the non-conference games have been on the schedule for some time, Wednesday’s release reveals the most important stretches of the conference schedule for title hopefuls like North Carolina, Duke and Virginia.
You can download your own PDF copy of the ACC’s schedule here or check it out at the league’s official website. Below, some thoughts on how the schedule lays out for a few teams that consider themselves either title or tournament hopefuls.
Duke’s early February will inform March expectations: The defending champs will be young to start the season, but a Brandon Ingram-led batch of freshman should be in rhythm by the time Duke hits its toughest stretch: playing at home against NC State, Louisville and Virginia, then at North Carolina and at Louisville all in a two-week span in February.
Mark the date for Jim Boeheim’s return: Jim Boeheim will return to the Syracuse sideline on Jan. 30 after sitting out the first nine ACC games for his role in NCAA violations committed by the basketball program. The Orange will host Georgia Tech in the Carrier Dome for the occasion, which is sure to be followed by a well-attended press conference to hear the Hall of Fame coach discuss his return.
North Carolina’s toughest stretch comes late: The two-and-a-half weeks between Duke games (Feb. 17 in Chapel Hill and March 5 in Durham) is the toughest stretch of ACC play for the Tar Heels. That could be a positive in the sense of warming up for a potential postseason run, but it also provides plenty of potential setbacks should this team be gunning for the top seed in the tournament. UNC plays at home against a very good Miami team after hosting Duke, then at NC State, at Virginia and home against Syracuse before finishing the regular season in Durham.
Download: 2015-16 ACC schedule