If it’s another Saturday, it must be another UVA road game

By Jerry Ratcliffe

Photo: UVA Athletics

As if Tony Bennett’s challenge of rebuilding his basketball team wasn’t enough, the ACC threw a curve into the Cavaliers’ conference scheduling this season.

When Virginia travels to Clemson this weekend, it will be the sixth consecutive Saturday the Cavaliers have played on the road, the sixth of seven straight. No other basketball program in the ACC has been made to travel for seven straight Saturdays.

It all started on Dec. 30 when UVA visited Notre Dame, then followed with Saturday games at NC State (Jan. 6), Wake Forest (Jan. 13), Georgia Tech (Jan. 20), Louisville (Jan. 27), and now to Clemson (Feb. 3). The Cavaliers will also play at Florida State next Saturday, (Feb. 10).

Virginia finally gets a Saturday home game on Feb. 17, when Wake Forest comes to John Paul Jones Arena. North Carolina comes to town the following Saturday, Feb. 24, before the Cavaliers hit the road again to Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium on Saturday, March 2.

UVA concludes the season with a home game against Georgia Tech at JPJ on March 9.

Certainly all these weekend road games have made it difficult on a portion of the Virginia fan base, which travels from other parts of the Commonwealth for weeknight games. Local hotels, restaurants and others are likely impacted by no weekend home games for such a time span.

Tony Bennett said on this week’s ACC Coaches teleconference that Virginia had inquired about the scheduling oddity to the league office. Paul Brazeau, the league’s senior associate commissioner for men’s basketball had an answer, just not a very good one.

“We said, this seems strange … in all the years I’ve been here, and [Brazeau] said that was just how the computer spit it out, apparently,” Bennett said, a refrain we’ve heard from the ACC in the past about unequal scheduling quirks.

One former ACC coach was so aggravated with the league blaming a computer for a scheduling glitch, he said, “Well, you better get a new damn computer.”

“So, sometimes you can’t control what you can’t control, so we just go with it,” Bennett said, rather than suggesting the league invest in a new computer, “and try to be as ready as we can. And again, this is about playing good ball and the last couple of Saturday games have been good, definitely good crowds and all that. So, I’m not sure … it’s beyond me. Maybe that’s an analytics thing or an A.I. question. So, not for me.”