The ACC has always been judicious when it comes to expanding it's conference basketball schedule. They stood pat at 14 games until Florida State arrived in 1991 when it was expanded to 16. They didn't budge when BC, Miami and VT joined in 2005. It wasn't until the 2012-2013 season that they expanded to an 18 game conference schedule. Even when Syracuse, Pitt, Notre Dame and Louisville came on board, they resisted the urge to expand beyond that as recently has a few months ago.
Big news: ACC will move to 20 league basketball games in 2019 when the ACC Network goes live. #ACCKickoff— Brian Hamilton (@BrianHamiltonSI) July 21, 2016
By then, the ACC Network will be up and running and the creation of 30 more ACC basketball games gives the network an instant programming boost.
The good news for basketball fans is that it ensures we'll see the best match-ups more often. The chances of getting Duke, North Carolina or Louisville in the Dome regularly just went up and we'll get to actually play our conference mates more often in general, fostering a sense of rivalry.
The bad news is that it's going to cut into the non-conference schedule, and the most likely scenario is that SU will cut back on marquee games before they cut back on the Colgates of the world. Between these additional two games and the B1G/ACC Challenge, expect to see Syracuse step back from preseason tournaments or from scheduling as many former Big East rivals as they have been doing.
Now there's a flip side to that as well, in that the new generation of Syracuse fans coming up doesn't have the same emotional attachment to, say, Syracuse vs. St. John's, or Syracuse vs. Villanova, that the older one do. We're seeing the first generation that cares more about Syracuse vs. Duke than it does about Syracuse vs. Georgetown because it's relevant and happens more often. So over time, much as you might hate to admit it, the value of those games is going to drop anyway.
Does the move hurt the ACC by making it more insular and cutting down on the number of quality non-conference games it's squads will play? Maybe. Maybe not. Jim Boeheim might tell you that it doesn't matter who you schedule in November and December because conference play is so tough. You're going to come out battle-tested no matter what.
Still, it's another shift in a decade that has seen so many for college basketball. It might be bad. It might be good. It might be a little of both. Either way, bring on more ACC games.