On Friday afternoon, the ACC announced the scheduling changes that will be made in order to accommodate Pittsburgh and Syracuse. In basketball, that means not only a move to an 18-game conference schedule, but also an adjustment to how the primary partners (schools guaranteed to play each other twice each season) are set up. More specifically for NC State, it means fewer games against the Tar Heels.
Under the expanded 18-game basketball schedule, each school will only have one permanent partner, as opposed the three-partner model that has been used since the league expanded in 2004. State's partner will be Wake Forest and Carolina will pair up with Duke. That means State and Carolina will only play once twice a season in one of every three years.
So State will play Wake Forest six times in every three-year cycle, and Duke and UNC four times each. Obviously when they decided to go with this model, there was never going to be any way around a Duke-UNC pairing, and everybody loses to some extent. It's a shame the Big Four matchups will decrease like this, but such is the reality of expansion I suppose.
Additional info from the N&O, including a list of how the primary partners are arranged.
According to the scheduling model's three-year cycle, ACC teams will play every league opponent at least once in basketball, with the primary partners playing home and away annually while the other 12 rotate in groups of four:
--One year both home and away
-- One year at home only
-- One year away only.
Maryland probably got the worst of it in being paired with Pittsburgh, unless they have some history I don't know about. Boston College and Syracuse at least have their mutual Big East history to draw from, and all of the other pairings make sense from both geographical and historical perspectives.
On the football side of things, the league is keeping the current division structure and simply adding Pittsburgh to the Coastal and Syracuse to the Atlantic. The inter-division primary partner situation won't change, meaning that State will continue to play UNC each year in football. The league is moving to a nine-game conference schedule, which allows for six division games, a game against the primary partner from the other division, and games against two rotating opponents from the other division.