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ACC Now: UNC Scheduling Like Duke

This is your pot stirring angle du jour for the local media this morning concerning the basketball schedule.

JP Giglio did a break down of UNC's schedule and promptly compares to one Duke would play:

Curious, though, that UNC has adopted Duke's scheduling formula. The Heels will play at an NCAA site — Dec. 3 vs. Michigan State at Ford Field, home of the Final Four — and gives Valpo the "home" game in Chicago.

Plus, there are only two true road games, albeit a long way from home. Did Mike Krzyzewski make this schedule?

Actually what you see this season is pretty much the way it has been since Roy Williams returned to Chapel Hill. And interestingly enough, UNC and Duke do schedule in similar fashion and have for years now. Here is the schedule breakdown for UNC starting in 2004 through next season.

2004: Road-2 Neutral-3
2005: Road-1 Neutral-5
2006: Road-2 Neutral-0
2007: Road-2 Neutral-4
2008: Road-4 Neutral-2
2009: Road-2 Neutral-4
TOTAL: Road-13 Neutral-20

The only time UNC played less than two true road games was in 2005 when they ventured to Indiana for the ACC/Big Ten Walkover.  In 2005 UNC played Santa Clara in Oakland which is defined as a neutral site despite being close to the Broncos' campus. They also played Maui and then UConn in Hartford midway through the conference season.  Last season's heavy travel was actually an abberation and four road games doubled what they usually do in Chapel Hill.  As to how it compares with Duke, the Heels are still more prone to venture out for true road games.

2004: Road-2 Neutral-4
2005: Road-1 Neutral-3
2006: Road-2 Neutral-4
2007: Road-1 Neutral-5
2008: Road-1 Neutral-5
2009: Road-3 Neutral-3
TOTAL Road-10 Neutral-24

It should be noted that one of the true road games Duke takes on every other season is their annual drubbing of St. John's at Madison Square Garden.  Yes, this is a road game technically speaking but Duke also plays one other game there, usually in December and MSG is often considered a home away from home.  I suppose the same could be said of UNC playing any game in Charlotte(at least Rick Pitino thinks so.) The crux of the criticism against Duke is there need to drag some high profile non-conference opponent up to New York or New Jersey to play them.  UNC may opt for a neutral court when playing a team but that court is always within reasonable driving distance of the school they are playing.  Duke on the other hand wants to use MSG or East Rutherford as a home away from home when playing the likes of Texas, Xavier, Pitt or Gonzaga.  This tendency really is perceived as Duke being unwilling to take on a challenge by at least getting into the same state as a higher caliber team.  Instead they opt to use those games as their annual homage to their massive Tri-State alumni base.

In the end, Duke catches a lot of flack for their scheduling methods but in reality they are closer to UNC's methods than most people realized.  The other aspect of this is the fact that both schools are widley popular, are on TV for every game and as a result opt for larger neutral arenas when playing away from home.  This is where the money is doing most of the decisionmaking and for smaller schools like Valporaiso, it behooves them to play a Duke or UNC at the larger venue since they stand to make more money from it.  As usual, the economics more than any other factor drives how the schedules get arranged.

In Giglio's case here, he intended it as a swiped against UNC when it turns out to be business as usual on both ends of 15-501.