On Nov. 16, the Tar Heels play host to Tennessee Tech to kick off the Las Vegas Invitational. Three days later, the team takes on St. Francis (Pa.) in Chapel Hill before heading to Las Vegas on Thanksgiving Day for a matchup with Texas. The winner of that game will face the victor of Michigan State and UCLA one day later on Nov. 23, while the losing teams also battle it out that same day.
The schedule does not get any easier from there, as the Tar Heels head to Ann Arbor, Mich. on Nov. 28 for a 9 p.m. tip off against Michigan in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Last season, Luke Maye led the way in a Tar Heel blowout with 27 points and six rebounds, but the Wolverines got the last laugh with a run to the national championship game.
Perhaps the most intriguing game of the season is on Dec. 15, when Mark Few and Gonzaga travel to Chapel Hill for a rematch of the 2017 National Championship. The Bulldogs boast a formidable lineup, including Rui Hachimura, who was a West Coast Conference first-team selection in 2017-2018.
UNC plays three more non-conference opponents, including Kentucky on Dec. 22 in the CBS Sports Classic, before beginning a tough ACC slate. The meeting with the Wildcats in Chicago is the first between the two teams since the 2017 Elite Eight, a contest won by Luke Maye’s buzzer-beating jump shot.
Cameron Johnson leads his team to Pittsburgh on Jan. 5 for his first visit since he transferred from the program following the 2016-2017 season. The Tar Heels then head to Raleigh to face N.C. State before playing their first conference home game on Jan. 12 against Louisville. The Tar Heels face both the Wolfpack and the Cardinals twice this season, along with Miami and Duke.
The Hurricanes visit Chapel Hill on Feb. 9, less than a year after spoiling Joel Berry and Theo Pinson’s senior night with a 91-88 victory.
Two days later, UNC welcomes Virginia to town. The Cavaliers won the ACC regular season and tournament championships last season. However, Tony Bennett’s squad is remembered more as the first No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 16 seed (UMBC) in the NCAA Tournament.
On Feb. 20, the Tar Heels visit the always raucous Cameron Indoor Stadium for a 9 p.m. tip against the Blue Devils. Less than three weeks later, Duke marches to the Smith Center for UNC’s senior night.
The March 9 game will be the last time Maye, Johnson and Kenny Williams set foot on Roy Williams Court and should be an emotional spectacle, no matter the final score. However, with the university beginning spring break on March 8, the atmosphere could lack some of its normal electricity.
The team will take the court for the first time on Oct. 12 for Late Night with Roy, giving fans a chance to see talented first-years Nassir Little, Coby White and Rechon Black.
The lighthearted mood will not last long, as Williams and his players turn their focus to yet another season filled with tough opponents.
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