Keatts, Wolfpack navigating uncertainty of basketball scheduling amid pandemic

ACC Football

GREENSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA – MARCH 11: Head coach Kevin Keatts of the North Carolina State Wolfpack looks on during their game against the Pittsburgh Panthers in the second round of the 2020 Men’s ACC Basketball Tournament at Greensboro Coliseum on March 11, 2020 in Greensboro, North Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – If this was a normal basketball season, North Carolina State fans would have already gone through the Wolfpack basketball schedule, circling sure wins while wondering where their team could avoid an upset elsewhere.

But thanks to COVID-19, there’s nothing normal about the upcoming basketball season.

“I can tell you that scheduling has been a major challenge,” N.C. State head coach Kevin Keatts said. “Even when you think you have the games done, it’s not done.”

The Wolfpack is in the process of putting together a 27-game schedule. Of that slate, only one game is a sure thing at this point.

“I can talk about the challenge (ACC/Big Ten Challenge),” Keatts said. “We do know that we’re going to play Michigan (Dec. 9 in Ann Arbor). I literally found out yesterday that that was going to be our opponent.

“I was hoping we would be at home but I knew we (weren’t) because we were home last year. Other than that, if you ask me in a week and a half I’ll probably give you a little more detail.”

Keatts does have a pretty good idea of what his team’s schedule will look like, but a few of the games are still under contract and need to be ironed out.

“I am past the frustration stage,” Keatts said when it comes to the scheduling uncertainty. “It has been a challenge.

“I feel really good that we have 27 games scheduled even though we don’t know our ACC schedule.”

And even when the schedule does come out, it’s far from a sure thing with the COVID-19 pandemic looming large.

“I have no idea how this thing’s going to work,” Keatts said. “When you look at football, the blessing (is) they had is they all had bye weeks. We don’t have any bye days or bye weeks. The only thing that can happen for us is they move the NCAA Tournament back. There’s been some talk but that certainly hasn’t happened at this point.”

Thirteen is the magic number. That’s the fewest amount of games a team can play and still qualify for the NCAA Tournament. Keatts is hopeful the Wolfpack doesn’t find itself scrambling for games late in the season.

“There’s a chance that we could miss four or five games and not have a chance to make them up,” Keatts said.

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