By Dave Glenn and staff, ACC Sports Journal
October 14, 2002 GREENSBORO While Maryland finally bested Duke on the court last season, not even the Terrapins' national championship could jump them ahead of the Blue Devils in the minds of national television executives. Maryland leads the ACC in televised games ( see chart) for the 2003 season with 28, but more than half of those contests will be broadcast only on a regional basis. Duke will have an amazing 23 of its 27 games broadcast nationally, easily topping league runners-up North Carolina, Virginia and Wake Forest, which will have 14 (each) shown nationally.
Furthermore, 14 of Duke's national games will be on the major networks: ESPN, CBS and ABC. Georgia Tech and UNC are a distant second in that category with nine, although UNC could add a few more with a good showing in the Preseason NIT.
At the other end of the broadcast spectrum, traditional ACC bottom-dwellers Clemson and Florida State will have just one game combined on those major channels. (The Tigers' season-ender against Georgia Tech will be on ABC.) That's not a lot of ammunition for two coaches, one (Larry Shyatt) barely hanging on to his job and the other (Leonard Hamilton) brand-new, to utilize while attempting to rebuild those programs. Of course, such negatives haven't managed to slow Hamilton on the recruiting trail so far.
Perhaps the worst overall 2002-03 schedule belongs to Wake Forest. One of Skip Prosser's priorities in his first season was to build a more raucous atmosphere at Joel Coliseum. He didn't have a lot of luck, as Joel usually was about two-thirds full, and he'll have trouble doing any better with this schedule.
The Deacons will play seven of their 16 home games while the students are on break. Only Virginia (eight of 14) and Maryland (eight of 16) face more difficult circumstances in that regard. In addition, Wake will play seven home games at bad times after 5 p.m. on a Sunday or after 8:59 on a weekday. Games at those times make it more difficult for alumni to attend, especially for a school such as Wake, which has a small, scattered alumni base traveling to games. Most other ACC schools have a large alumni base, with much of it within easy driving distance.
Also, while Prosser's schedule largely was dictated by TV, he didn't get the benefit one might expect: exposure on the major networks. Wake Forest will play only two games on ESPN, CBS or ABC, versus St. John's on ESPN and at Marquette on ABC. That total barely tops Clemson/FSU, and N.C. State's five is the next-lowest number.
In any kind of performance-based schedule analysis, UNC clearly seems to have done best. Coming off a horrible season, and entering the 2002-03 campaign with an extremely young lineup, the Tar Heels will have 25 TV games. At least 14 will be broadcast nationally, including nine on the major networks. In addition, they can add as many as three games to those totals, depending on how well they play in the Preseason NIT. For its home games, UNC has only two bad start times and will play only one game while its students are on break. Even in bad times, it seems, Carolina benefits from some good calls.