LUCAS: Men’s Basketball Rapid Reactions
Article Published by Adam Lucas on goheels.com
1. We already knew the 2018-19 nonconference basketball schedule, but today brought the rest of the slate into focus.
2. There are two of the dreaded Saturday/Monday turnaround affairs. The first comes on January 19 and 21, with a road trip to Miami followed by a home game against a Virginia Tech team expected to be one of the league’s best. The other is in February, with back to back home dates against Miami and Virginia–with the Cavaliers again expected to be among the best teams in the conference.
3. Both of those back ends of the Saturday/Monday duo are the only meetings of the season between the Tar Heels and that particular opponent, heightening the importance of those games for ACC and NCAA Tournament seeding. Doing it on short turnaround–especially Virginia’s unique style of play–makes it a particular challenge, but that’s when Roy Williams will lean on the experience of some of his veterans. Also, it’s generally considered tougher for the back half of the quick turnaround to be on the road, and Carolina drew home games in both back halves.
4. This schedule feels less rushed than last year’s edition. The Tar Heels will play just one game in 11 days in late January, and don’t have any of the three games-in-five day turnarounds that made last season a challenging one.
5. That’s an interesting ACC opener at Pitt in what will be Jeff Capel’s first league game as head coach. He’ll be assisted by brother Jason, a Tar Heel hoops alum, so expect plentiful storylines–and a better crowd than on the most recent visit to Pittsburgh–in one of the many Saturday at noon tips on the Carolina schedule.
6. The first two ACC games won’t get a ton of attention but are a tricky way to start the league slate. Any trip to PNC Arena will bring a challenging road environment, likely making Roy Williams happy his team will have already faced three true road games before it begins conference play. The last time Carolina opened ACC play with two straight road games (and the only time in the Williams era it has happened previously) was in 2017, and that season turned out OK.
7. Is this a football schedule or a basketball schedule? Five of the 18 ACC games are Saturday at noon affairs, including three straight weekends to open the conference season. It wasn’t too long ago that the weekend daytime game was on the endangered list when the league had a national Sunday night deal with Fox; those days are over, which is a return to the traditional television windows for the league. The flip side is the Tar Heels rarely play in the “traditional” Wednesday night slot. Other than the first meeting with Duke, there are zero Wednesday night ACC games…but six on Tuesday.
8. It’s just become part of life that the meetings with Duke get later on the calendar every year. The two teams won’t face each other this season until Feb. 20, which ties for the latest initial meeting in series history. That’s purely for television reasons, of course. To put it into perspective, in 1987, the final meeting between the two teams was played on Feb. 27.
9. Another fact of the modern ACC: the schedule will be backloaded. At first glance, largely because of the presence of that Virginia game on Feb. 11, the 2019 edition doesn’t appear quite as backlogged. But keep in mind that Florida State, Syracuse and Clemson are widely expected to be top-25 teams this season, and those squads–along with two games against Duke–make up five of Carolina’s final six regular season games.
10. Carolina has had just one other three-game ACC homestand in the Roy Williams era. That one came in 2016, when the Tar Heels went 2-1 against Pitt, Duke and Miami. This year’s version brings three home games–NCSU, Miami and Virginia–in less than a week from Feb. 5 through Feb. 11
About Scott Livengood
Scott Livengood is the owner and CEO of Dewey’s Bakery, Inc., a commercial wholesale bakery with a respected national brand of ultra premium cookies and crackers.
Previously, Scott worked at Krispy Kreme Doughnuts for 27 years, starting as a trainee in 1977. He was appointed President of the company in 1992, then CEO and Chairman of the Board.
Scott has served on numerous boards including the Carter Center, the Calloway School of Business and the Babcock School of Management, Habitat for Humanity of Forsyth County, and the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce.
He started a new business, StoryWork International, in 2016 with Richard Stone. The signature achievement to date is LivingStories, a story-based program for improved patient experiences and outcomes in partnership with Novant Health.