Duke, North Carolina and N.C. State will be featured prominently in the unprecedented number of ACC women's basketball games televised this winter, according to the 2011-12 league schedule released Tuesday.
Among the league's 52 televised games - the most for women's basketball in conference history - the three Triangle schools will participate in primetime ESPN2 broadcasts, with North Carolina at Duke airing on Feb. 6 and Wake Forest at N.C. State on Feb. 12.
The regular season will tip off Nov. 11, with ACC play opening on Jan. 2.
The ACC also announced a change from a 14-game league schedule to a 16-game format. The shift means each conference team will have five home-and-home series with conference opponents. In previous seasons, teams had three home-and-home games.
For the ACC's Triangle schools:
Duke will open the season at Brigham Young on Nov. 11 and host Virginia on Jan. 2 in its league opener. Eight of its games will be aired on ESPN networks.
North Carolina will open the season at home on Nov. 12 against Gardner-Webb and host Miami in its league opener on Jan. 2. Four of its games will be aired on ESPN networks.
N.C. State will host Southeast Missouri State in its season-opener on Nov. 11 and start conference play at home against Georgia Tech on Jan. 2. Three of its games will be on ESPN networks.
The Wolfpack's nonconference opponents include Texas Christian, Creighton, South Carolina and Vanderbilt as coach Kellie Harper enters her third season. The program's annual "Hoops 4 Hope" game is set for Feb. 12 against Wake Forest.
"I believe the challenges that we have, both in and out of conference, will make our team better," Harper said in a statement.
Duke has compiled some of the nation's toughest schedules over the past two seasons.
While this year's schedule doesn't include nationally ranked opponents from previous years - teams such as Texas A&M and Stanford - the Blue Devils will face stiff, nonconference opposition from Connecticut, Auburn, Pittsburgh, Kentucky and Temple.
They also might face Notre Dame, the NCAA championship runner-up last year, in the Junkanoo Jam tournament in the Grand Bahamas Islands on Nov. 25-26.
The Blue Devils will host the Huskies on Jan. 30.
North Carolina will travel to Penn State on Nov. 30 as part of the fifth annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
The ACC has won the Challenge in all four seasons, edging the Big Ten last year 6-5.
The Tar Heels continue their home-and-away series with Connecticut on Jan. 16 in Storrs, Conn. That game will be broadcast on ESPN2.
The ACC tournament will be at the Greensboro Coliseum on March 1-4. This season, all of the tournament games will be televised for the first time, with ESPNU and ESPN2 airing the semifinals and championship.
firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-829-4781