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Wolfpack to Blue Devils and Tar Heels: I can’t quit you

Harrison Barnes, Lorenzo Brown

North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes, left, defends North Carolina State’s Lorenzo Brown during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Raleigh, N.C., Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2012. North Carolina won 86-74. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)


The ACC basketball schedule has not been particularly pleasing to the eye for some time now. It’s no different than in any other mega-league caught up in expansion fever over the past several years - the addition of new teams ruined the old formula of playing each league foe twice.

With Pitt and Syracuse coming in (maybe sooner than had previously been believed) there will be even fewer league home-and-home pairings. That means that some league coaches are making the best of next year’s 18-game league schedule without extra partners, while they still can.

N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried, for instance, made darn sure that his Wolfpack will play home-and-home with long-time regional foes Duke, North Carolina and Clemson. He was quite candid about the fact that he traded floundering Virginia Tech away for the chance to play marquee matchups that will, not coincidentally, improve his team’s tournament profile and provide more appealing TV matchups.

Some other ACC coaches weighed in on the upcoming schedule changes in an article written by’s Andy Katz:

“I don’t know if there’s an easy answer,’' said Clemson’s Brad Brownell. Brownell’s unbalanced schedule has his four single games being Wake Forest and North Carolina at home and Duke and Maryland on the road.

“Everyone wants the true round-robin, but we can’t in these big conferences,’' Brownell said. “You’re not going to have a true champion.’'

Maryland, which should still be young but improved next season, also got a heavy schedule: Duke, Virginia, North Carolina and Florida State twice, according to coach Mark Turgeon.

“Mine’s not easy,’' Turgeon said. “But I don’t know how else you could do it.’'

There’s obviously no more room for nostalgia in collegiate sports these days. But we can enjoy one last season of the Tobacco Road hate triangle before the inevitable future arrives. Maybe.