WASHINGTON, D.C. — North Carolina’s path to the regular season ACC championship — the program’s first since 2012 — involved a few less games against the other teams at the top of the standings. The Tar Heels played Louisville, Virginia, Miami and Notre Dame just once each. Duke was the only team that UNC played twice to finish in the top seven of the final ACC standings, so it’s worth considering that the unbalanced ACC schedule helped the Tar Heels secure the No. 1 seed in the tournament and regular season title.
When asked about the unbalanced schedule after North Carolina’s 88-71 win against Pittsburgh in the ACC tournament quarterfinals on Thursday, Roy Williams responded with some colorful language.
“You know what we didn’t have the benefit of, to make somebody say we didn’t have the easy schedule, we didn’t get to play North Carolina. All that is a bunch of horse s—. In the ACC you get to play everybody, some of them two, some of them one. For the past couple years, I’ve always said the greatest thing would be to play everybody twice. But we don’t do that.”
Williams proceeded to run down the list of tournament teams North Carolina has faced this year, including Louisville as a team that “would probably make the tournament.” He correctly pointed out that all of the teams that North Carolina lost to this season are, or would, be a part of the NCAA tournament field.
But Williams’ case doesn’t change the fact that some teams are going to get a good draw in the rotation of a 15-team league. Virginia, the regular season champion in 2014 and 2015, has only played Duke and North Carolina once in their path to the No. 1 seed in the tournament.