Primary partnership for UNC and NC State?

Remember all the angst when the ACC went to one "primary partner" in its new 18-game men’s basketball schedule -- meaning North Carolina and rival NC State would some years play only once during the regular season?

It looks like the addition of Notre Dame will solve that problem.

ACC commissioner John Swofford told reporters Wednesday -- after a news conference announcing the Irish’s move -- that a 15-team, 18-game league slate “in all likelihood” means the conference will go back to two primary partners guaranteed to play a home-and-home series each season.

Asked if that meant the Tar Heels and Wolfpack (who do play home-and-home in 2012-13) would return to that primary-partner relationship, Swofford laughed and said: “I think that has a good chance of happening.”

UNC and NC State have met at least twice a year since the ACC was founded, but the Tar Heels were paired with another rival, Duke, when the league opted to expand to an 18-game schedule (and subtract a primary partner) in anticipation of Pittsburgh and Syracuse officially joining the league in 2013-14.

Notre Dame is not expected to leave the Big East for the ACC until at least 2014.

Hat-tip: InsideCarolina

Follow Robbi Pickeral on Twitter at @bylinerp.