The Best Non-Conference True Road Games For ACC Teams

Posted by KCarpenter on November 1st, 2012

Fall tournaments are fun, but they often seem to happen in a vacuum, or at least half-empty gyms on distant islands. The lack of a rowdy audience or a vicious crowd takes away one of the greatest joys of college basketball: the true road game. There is nothing quite as exciting as a team going to face their opponent on hostile terrain. It’s more challenging, riskier, and almost inevitably more fun. So, let’s check the schedules of the teams in the ACC and see who is diving headfirst into danger.

These Tourneys Are Fun, But They’re Not Hostile Venues

A quick note: semi-neutral site games are okay, but they lack the necessary zest. Sorry, Duke vs. Davidson in Charlotte. Likewise, though there are some truly fun ACC-Big Ten Challenge games where the ACC team is on the road, these games are starting to border on routine. I’m sure North Carolina State at Michigan will be a big time game, but it doesn’t quite have that sense of risk that is essential. Finally, I’m not including Virginia Tech or Wake Forest‘s away game against UNC Greensboro‘s Fighting Wes Millers; the Greensboro Coliseum is hardly unfamiliar ground for ACC teams.

Games Against Likely Mid-Major Tournament Teams

  • Virginia at George Mason on November 9
  • North Carolina at Long Beach State on November 16
  • Miami at Massachusetts on December 1
  • Wake Forest at Richmond on December 1
Of these four games, the only game where the ACC has a strong edge is probably North Carolina playing at Long Beach State. Massachusetts and Richmond are two of the best teams playing at home in an historically strong Atlantic 10, so they will definitely challenge the Hurricanes and the Demon Deacons. Meanwhile, Virginia boldly starts it’s season away at George Mason, a team that’s more than capable of taking on ACC challengers with a coach in Paul Hewitt who has significantly more ACC experience than Tony Bennett.

Games Against Power Conference Teams

  • Virginia Tech at West Virginia on December 8
  • North Carolina at Texas on December 19
  • Florida State at Auburn on January 2

When the Tar Heels go to Texas, the sparks should fly. Those two teams have faced off frequently in recent years, with UNC playing host to the Longhorns last year, an improvement from the kind-of-boring semi-home and semi-home series at Cowboy Stadium and Greensboro Coliseum. In any case these are two serious teams doing battle. When the Hokies take on West Virginia, it will be hard to say the same thing. WVU figures to be very good and it looks like Virginia Tech may have a hard year, making this contest seem not-so-competitive on paper. Florida State at Auburn is a big time clash between two football powerhouses, one which has figured out also how to also excel at basketball and another that lives in the basement of the SEC.

Games Against Regional Rivals

  • Miami at Florida Gulf Coast on November 13
  • Clemson at Furman on November 16
  • Clemson at South Carolina on December 2
  • Miami at Central Florida on December 18
  • Clemson at Coastal Carolina on December 19

While the Clemson at South Carolina game also falls into the previous category, it’s in this section because of the context. Last year, Clemson scheduled a big slate of non-conference games against the other South Carolina schools, a schedule that looked fairly fluffy considering Clemson’s relative dominance as the best hoops school in the state recently. Nonetheless, Clemson racked up home losses against South Carolina, Coastal Carolina, and College of Charleston. So, now, this season, the Tigers are going to take the regional rivalry act on the road to try to avenge their losses from last season and try to avoid an embarrassing loss to Furman in nearby Greenville. Miami doesn’t have the history of recent losses against the regional rivals they face, but both Central Florida and Florida Gulf Coast are good enough basketball teams to win a game against the Hurricanes if a few breaks go their way. All of these games offer the chance of an upset, caused by in-state teams living in the shadow of their ACC opponents. That’s always a juicy storyline.

KCarpenter (269 Posts)

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