Many are the teams who have ridden a cupcake-laden, home-heavy, non-conference schedule to early season success, only to have their inflated bubble burst once the reality of conference play sets in.

While conference games are difficult to win, no matter the location, conference road victories are practically impossible to come by. The opponents are more familiar with your personnel, the coaches are more accustomed to the sets you run, the visiting locker rooms are cramped, and the crowds are more boisterous; all making home-court advantage a very real thing.

Want proof? Here are the winning percentages of ACC road teams the past seven years of conference games (including numbers for Louisville, Maryland, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, and Syracuse only when they were members of the ACC):

2010-11 – 34.4%
2011-12 – 39.6%
2012-13 – 31.5%
2013-14 – 43.0%
2014-15 – 43.7%
2015-16 – 34.1%
2016-17 – 31.1%

Over those seven years, the total winning percentage for ACC road teams is an abysmal 36.9 percent.

The 2017-18 season is off to an even worse start. ACC road teams are a combined 7-22 (24.1 percent) in conference games through Jan. 12. In fact, those seven wins are by seven different teams. No ACC team has more than one conference road victory so far this season.

Why are all these grim numbers significant? Because during these past seven years of ACC conference road game ineptitude, one team has risen above it all. The North Carolina Tar Heels have achieved a winning conference road record in the ACC for seven straight seasons. While the whole league has a 36.9 winning percentage in that span, Carolina has amassed a winning percentage of 65.6. Let that sink in.

The North Carolina Tar Heels have achieved a winning conference road record in the ACC for seven straight seasons.

Seven years in a row. That is nothing short of impressive. Surely other ACC teams have pretty nice streaks over their own, right? Wrong.

Of the 15 other teams who have been part of the ACC during Carolina’s streak, six of them have not achieved a winning conference road record in that span of time (Boston College, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest). A further seven teams have amassed a streak of exactly one straight ACC winning road record (Florida State, Louisville, Miami, NC State, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Syracuse).

This leaves Virginia and Duke as the only other schools to have a multi-year streak of road success in conference. The Cavaliers had a two-year streak covering the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons. The Blue Devils had a three-year streak encompassing the 2010-11 through 2012-13 seasons.

In addition to Carolina, only two other ACC schools have an ongoing streak of achieving a winning record in conference road games. Notre Dame and Virginia both had conference road records of 5-4 in 2016-17 and will look to build on that accomplishment this season.

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Carolina’s streak is currently in jeopardy. The Tar Heels have lost their first two ACC road games (Florida State and Virginia). Each ACC team plays 18 conference games; nine at home and nine on the road. That means that UNC has seven remaining conference road games, of which they will have to win five to move their streak to eight straight seasons.

Winning five out of seven conference road games sounds like a pretty tall task. And it is. Here is the percentage TeamRankings.com gives Carolina to win each of their remaining conference road games (as of 1/12/18):

Notre Dame (1/13) – 48.0%
Virginia Tech (1/22) – 60.8%
Clemson (1/30) – 50.2%
NC State (2/10) – 74.7%
Louisville (2/17) – 52.8%
Syracuse (2/21) – 67.0%
Duke (3/3) – 22.8%

Remember, the Tar Heels will need to win five of these games to keep their streak alive. According to the TeamRankings.com projections, UNC has a 50 percent chance or better in exactly five of the remaining games (Virginia Tech, Clemson, NC State, Louisville, and Syracuse). Worth noting, the numbers project three of the games right around that 50 percent threshold – Notre Dame, Clemson, and Louisville.

Suffice it to say, winning today at a Bonzie Colson-less Notre Dame in the first of those fifty-fifty games would go a long way to keeping the Carolina streak alive and would also give the Tar Heels an overall winning conference record.

Will it be tough to win five out of seven ACC road games? Undeniably so. But can the Tar Heels go out and do it? Absolutely.

A streak of this nature does not happen by pure happenstance. Sure there must be some degree of luck associated with a long run, but sustained and consistent success is the result of elite coaching, discipline, buy-in, talent, and a commitment to team principles.

Literally none of the other ACC Teams have been able to take the same path to conference road triumph, as has North Carolina over the course of the previous seven seasons. And if the Tar Heels want to make it eight, they’ll have to continue to walk the road less traveled.

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For those of you who are gluttons for punishment, like me, the numbers from my research behind this article are listed below. I have first listed the results of all of UNC’s road conference games from the 2010-11 through 2016-17 seasons. Following that, you will find season-by-season records for each team that was part of the ACC at some point in the past seven years (listed in alphabetical order). For Louisville, Maryland, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, and Syracuse, I also included their road conference records in their non-ACC conference, although those numbers are not included in the percentages in the article. I noted the seasons that are non-ACC.

Carolina schedules in the streak

  1. 2010-11 (6-2)
    • W – Virginia 62-56
    • L – GT 78-58
    • W – Miami 74-71
    • W – BC 106-74
    • L – Duke 79-73
    • W – Clemson 64-62
    • W – NC State 75-63
    • W – FSU 72-70
  2. 2011-12 (7-1)
    • L – FSU 90-57
    • W – VT 82-68
    • W – WF 68-53
    • W – Maryland 83-74
    • W – Miami 73-64
    • W – NC State 86-74
    • W – Virginia 54-51
    • W – Duke 88-70
  3. 2012-13 (5-4)
    • L – Virginia 61-52
    • W – FSU 77-72
    • L – NC State 91-83
    • W – BC 82-70
    • L – Miami 87-61
    • L – Duke 73-68
    • W – GT 70-58
    • W – Clemson 68-59
    • W – Maryland 79-68
  4. 2013-14 (5-4)
    • L – WF 73-67
    • L – Syracuse 57-45
    • L – Virginia 76-61
    • W – GT 78-65
    • W – ND 73-62
    • W – FSU 81-75
    • W – NC State 85-84 OT
    • W – VT 60-56
    • L – Duke 93-81
  5. 2014-15 (6-3)
    • W – Clemson 74-50
    • W – NC State 81-79
    • W – WF 87-71
    • L – Louisville 78-68 OT
    • W – BC 79-68
    • L – Pittsburgh 89-76
    • L – Duke 92-90 OT
    • W – Miami 73-64
    • W – GT 81-49
  6. 2015-16 (6-3)
    • W – FSU 106-90
    • W – Syracuse 84-73
    • W – VT 75-70
    • L – Louisville 71-65
    • L – ND 80-76
    • W – BC 68-65
    • W – NC State 80-68
    • L – Virginia 79-74
    • W – Duke 76-72
  7. 2016-17 (5-4)
    • L – GT 75-63
    • W – Clemson 89-86 OT
    • W – WF 93-87
    • W – BC 90-82
    • L – Miami 77-62
    • L – Duke 86-78
    • W – NC State 97-73
    • W – Pittsburgh 85-67
    • L – Virginia 53-43


Streaks for the other 15 schools (winning seasons in bold)

  1. Boston College – Longest winning streak is 0 seasons
  • 2010-11 – (3-5)
  • 2011-12 – (0-8)
  • 2012-13 – (2-7)
  • 2013-14 – (3-6)
  • 2014-15 – (2-7)
  • 2015-16 – (0-9)
  • 2016-17 – (0-9)
  1. Clemson – Longest winning streak is 0 seasons
  • 2010-11 – (2-6)
  • 2011-12 – (2-6)
  • 2012-13 – (1-8)
  • 2013-14 – (4-5)
  • 2014-15 – (3-6)
  • 2015-16 – (3-6)
  • 2016-17 – (2-7)
  1. Duke – Longest winning streak is 3 seasons
  • 2010-11 – (5-3)
  • 2011-12 – (8-0)
  • 2012-13 – (5-4)
  • 2013-14 – (4-5)
  • 2014-15 – (7-2)
  • 2015-16 – (5-4)
  • 2016-17 – (3-6)
  1. Florida State – Longest winning streak is 1 season
  • 2010-11 – (4-4)
  • 2011-12 – (5-3)
  • 2012-13 – (3-6)
  • 2013-14 – (5-4)
  • 2014-15 – (3-6)
  • 2015-16 – (3-6)
  • 2016-17 – (3-6)
  1. Georgia Tech – Longest winning streak is 0 seasons
  • 2010-11 – (1-7)
  • 2011-12 – (1-7)
  • 2012-13 – (3-6)
  • 2013-14 – (3-6)
  • 2014-15 – (1-8)
  • 2015-16 – (3-6)
  • 2016-17 – (1-8)
  1. Louisville – Longest ACC winning streak is 1 season; 3 in Big East; 4 when combined
  • 2010-11 – (3-6) BIG EAST
  • 2011-12 – (5-4) BIG EAST
  • 2012-13 – (6-3) BIG EAST
  • 2013-14 – (8-1) BIG EAST
  • 2014-15 – (6-3)
  • 2015-16 – (4-5)
  • 2016-17 – (4-5)
  1. Maryland – Longest ACC winning streak is 0 seasons; 1 in Big Ten
  • 2010-11 – (3-5)
  • 2011-12 – (1-7)
  • 2012-13 – (2-7)
  • 2013-14 – (2-7)
  • 2014-15 – (5-4) BIG TEN
  • 2015-16 – (4-5) BIG TEN
  • 2016-17 – (7-2) BIG TEN
  1. Miami – Longest winning streak is 1 season
  • 2010-11 – (2-6)
  • 2011-12 – (3-5)
  • 2012-13 – (7-2)
  • 2013-14 – (4-5)
  • 2014-15 – (5-4)
  • 2015-16 – (4-5)
  • 2016-17 – (3-6)
  1. NC State – Longest winning streak is 1 season
  • 2010-11 – (1-7)
  • 2011-12 – (5-3)
  • 2012-13 – (3-6)
  • 2013-14 – (4-5)
  • 2014-15 – (5-4)
  • 2015-16 – (1-8)
  • 2016-17 – (2-7)
  1. Notre Dame – Longest ACC winning streak is 1 season; 2 in Big East
  • 2010-11 – (5-4) BIG EAST
  • 2011-12 – (5-4) BIG EAST
  • 2012-13 – (4-5) BIG EAST
  • 2013-14 – (1-8)
  • 2014-15 – (7-2)
  • 2015-16 – (4-5)
  • 2016-17 – (5-4)
  1. Pittsburgh – Longest ACC winning streak is 1 season; 1 in Big East; 2 combined
  • 2010-11 – (7-2) BIG EAST
  • 2011-12 – (1-8) BIG EAST
  • 2012-13 – (6-3) BIG EAST
  • 2013-14 – (7-2)
  • 2014-15 – (2-7)
  • 2015-16 – (3-6)
  • 2016-17 – (1-8)
  1. Syracuse – Longest ACC winning streak is 1 season, 2 in Big East
  • 2010-11 – (6-3) BIG EAST
  • 2011-12 – (8-1) BIG EAST
  • 2012-13 – (4-5) BIG EAST
  • 2013-14 – (7-2)
  • 2014-15 – (4-5)
  • 2015-16 – (3-6)
  • 2016-17 – (2-7)
  1. Virginia – Longest winning streak is 2 seasons
  • 2010-11 – (3-5)
  • 2011-12 – (4-4)
  • 2012-13 – (2-7)
  • 2013-14 – (7-2)
  • 2014-15 – (8-1)
  • 2015-16 – (4-5)
  • 2016-17 – (5-4)
  1. Virginia Tech – Longest winning streak is 0 seasons
  • 2010-11 – (3-5)
  • 2011-12 – (1-7)
  • 2012-13 – (1-8)
  • 2013-14 – (1-8)
  • 2014-15 – (0-9)
  • 2015-16 – (3-6)
  • 2016-17 – (3-6)
  1. Wake Forest – Longest winning streak is 0 seasons
  • 2010-11 – (0-8)
  • 2011-12 – (1-7)
  • 2012-13 – (0-9)
  • 2013-14 – (1-8)
  • 2014-15 – (0-9)
  • 2015-16 – (0-9)
  • 2016-17 – (3-6)

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I’m a UNC writer and the ACC Social Media Manager for Armchair All-Americans. I grew up in Atlanta knowing that I was going to be the next Maddux or Glavine. Unfortunately, I never hit six feet tall, 4.4 in the 40-yard dash, 90 m.p.h. on the radar gun, or 50 home runs. So I decided do my sports from my armchair and behind a computer screen. My favorite all-time sports moment? 1992. NLCS. Game 7. Sid Bream. Look it up. Worst sports moment ever? Two words: Kris. Jenkins. I live in the bustling metropolis of Webb City, MO, where ministry is my full-time job. I spend my free time with my beautiful wife and son.
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I’m a UNC writer and the ACC Social Media Manager for Armchair All-Americans. I grew up in Atlanta knowing that I was going to be the next Maddux or Glavine. Unfortunately, I never hit six feet tall, 4.4 in the 40-yard dash, 90 m.p.h. on the radar gun, or 50 home runs. So I decided do my sports from my armchair and behind a computer screen. My favorite all-time sports moment? 1992. NLCS. Game 7. Sid Bream. Look it up. Worst sports moment ever? Two words: Kris. Jenkins. I live in the bustling metropolis of Webb City, MO, where ministry is my full-time job. I spend my free time with my beautiful wife and son.

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