Tuesday morning the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) released its conference schedule for the 2020-21 season.

For those who may have forgot, because there has been one or two things going on since then, the 2019-20 season was cut short when the coronavirus pandemic first ravaged the nation back in March. Teams were in the conference tournament and were a week away from the NCAA Tournament when everything was canceled.

This year the season will be a little different, though not too different than years past. The conference schedule will begin Dec. 12 and run through March 6. Each team in the ACC will play 20 conference games. The changes this year are that each team is allowed to schedule 24 regular-season games and participate in multiple team events that include up to two games or 25 regular season games if a team doesn’t participate in a multiple team tournament.

There are a lot of unknowns when it comes to the season, just like there has been with pretty much everything that has come along in the age of COVID-19. In a news release sent out by the ACC, John Swofford, commissioner of the league, said they are following all of the guidance from their advisory group along with other public health officials to be able to compete in a safe matter.

Each team in the conference will play its two primary rivals both home and away along with four repeat opponents both home and away. The remaining eight opponents will be single games, four home and four away.

The Associated Press released its preseason top 25 poll on Monday, and the ACC had four teams ranked: Virginia (4), Duke (9), North Carolina (16) and Florida State (21).

Virginia won the National Championship in 2019 and since there was no tournament in 2020 the Cavaliers will be the reigning champions when the season tips off.

The ACC Tournament is set to tip off on March 9 and run through March 13 at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C.

Another difference this season: a lot of games are being given two dates in the case of positive tests. While this is not specifically addressed in the release, multiple games on the schedule for each team have two days allotted. It is also noted any conference games unable to be played will only be rescheduled if both teams’ schedules permit it.

Non-conference schedules have been steadily released but there are still a lot of ACC teams that have yet to release theirs. Non-conference games are set to begin later this month.

I wrote on Monday about how college football has been a disaster so far this season with major players being out for games and games being canceled due to positive tests, but I feel that getting the basketball season in without major issues is plausible. The main reason is logistics. College basketball teams have maybe 15 total players on a roster and five to seven coaches on staff. Then add equipment managers and trainers, and there are approximately 30 total staff that will be traveling together. Compare that to over 100 players, coaches and other staff members with football.

It is much more likely for football to have an issue with positive tests due to the large number of people congregating together compared to basketball. That gives me hope that basketball season will be able to be played in its entirety with minimal issues, but as we have seen in the COVID-19 era, nothing is certain.

Basketball and specifically ACC basketball has long been a favorite sport of mine, and I am looking forward to things kicking off later this month. Basketball teams and coaches seem to have a better grasp on the situation than football but only time will tell if that pays off.

Until next time.

Johnathan Kirland is a sports writer for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact him jkirkland@gazettevirginian.com. Follow him on Twitter @JohnathanK_GV