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Thursday, December 15, 2011
ACC will increase league slate to 18

By Robbi Pickeral

With the future additions of Syracuse and Pittsburgh, the ACC had said it would likely move to an 18-game basketball schedule.

It’s just going to happen sooner than expected.

ACC commissioner John Swofford announced in a press release Thursday that the league will play an 18-game conference slate for both men’s and women’s basketball next season. Currently, the 12-team ACC plays a 16-game league slate.

“Our member institutions have been talking about this increase for a while and knowing our league will be expanding to 14 in the future, we’ve decided to move to an 18-game conference schedule next year, regardless of our membership number," Swofford said in a prepared statement. “The additional conference games create a more equitable schedule and we’ve received significant feedback from our fans for more conference games.”

Decisions about possibly splitting the league into divisions, and about which teams will play which how many times, could come as soon as the league’s winters meeting in February, which is usually attended by the conference's athletics directors and faculty reps.

Syracuse and Pittsburgh aren’t expected to join the league until the 2013-14 season, but the ACC wanted to expand the schedule earlier so teams could begin solidifying their non-conference schedules.

The move means each team will play two fewer non-league foes.  It's a situation that has concerned some coaches, including North Carolina's Roy Williams, because it could cut into the opportunity to schedule big-time national showdowns such as UNC-Kentucky or UNC-Michigan State.

Robbi Pickeral can be reached at bylinerp@gmail.com. Twitter: bylinerp.