Lucas: Six Schedule Thoughts
1. It's a little ironic that in the first year of a 15-team ACC, Carolina has home-and-home series against each of the other members of the Big Four. That hasn't happened since the 2009-10 season, and has happened only once in the previous six seasons.
2. The trip by the Tar Heels to Syracuse looks like one of many ACC headliners. Carolina has made only one other trip to the Carrier Dome to face the Orange, as they claimed an 87-64 victory on Dec. 10, 1983. Despite the lack of games against the actual home tenant, Carolina has been a frequent Carrier Dome visitor for NCAA Tournament play, and has an 8-1 all-time record in the building.
3. The Tar Heels will not travel to College Park, which means--barring something unusual--the 79-68 win at Maryland on March 6 is likely to be the last ACC game Carolina plays at the Comcast Center.
4. Keeping in mind that Carolina has already announced a nonconference game against Kentucky, plus a possible matchup with defending national champion Louisville in the Hall of Fame Tipoff Classic, next year's strength of schedule should be formidable. A road game at Syracuse will be a test, as will a home-and-home against Notre Dame and a road game at Virginia.
5. Notre Dame has only played at the Smith Center twice--a 73-61 UNC win in 1986, just after the building opened, and an 85-56 Tar Heel victory in 1993. Pittsburgh, meanwhile, has also been to the Smith Center twice, with the Tar Heels taking a 90-67 win in 1994 and an 82-61 victory in 1996.
6. There's been a lot of talk about the increased travel demands of a bigger conference, but Carolina will actually travel significantly fewer miles this coming season. The Tar Heels racked up 2,824 air miles for last season's league road games. This coming season, however--even with the road trip to Syracuse--they'll accumulate just 2,227 air miles.