The Washington Times - December 15, 2011, 02:56PM

The ACC will expand to an 18-game league schedule in both men’s and women’s basketball.

The move will occur regardless of whether Pittsburgh and Syracuse, which accepted invitations to join the league earlier this year, have started play in the conference. Both schools could remain in the Big East through 2014 based on the Big East’s bylaws.

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“Our member institutions have been talking about this increase for awhile and knowing our league will be expanding to 14 in the future, we’ve decided to move to an 18-game conference schedule next year, regardless of our membership number,” commissioner John Swofford said in a prepared statement. “The additional conference games create a more equitable schedule and we’ve received significant feedback from our fans for more conference games.”

The Big East, Big Ten and Pac-12 (then the Pac-10) played 18-game league schedules last year. The Big 12, now reduced to 10 teams, is playing an 18-game schedule this year.

Without Pittsburgh and Syracuse, the ACC would presumably have each team play seven opponents twice and four opponents once. With those two teams, each school would play five home-and-homes and eight league opponents just once.

Currently, ACC schools have five home-and-homes and six teams they see only once each regular season.

Patrick Stevens