Martin Luther King Jr. weekend is almost here, bringing with it an extra day when you don't have to set your alarm for work or class.
As the country pauses to remember the Civil Rights leader, eight UNC athletics programs will be competing in Chapel Hill and across the nation:
Head coach Roy Williams and his 13-4 team will be back in action over MLK weekend with a pair of conference games, one away and one in Chapel Hill. The No. 13 Tar Heels will take on Miami in Coral Gables on Saturday, then come back to the Smith Center to welcome No. 9 Virginia Tech on Monday.
With two wins, UNC could regain confidence in the direction of the season after being embarrassed by Louisville this past Saturday in a historic loss. J.V. basketball will also play Massanutten Military Academy on Monday at 4 p.m. before the varsity team takes on the Hokies.
No. 3 North Carolina will travel to Las Vegas to compete in the Freeman Memorial Championship hosted by UNLV. While in Sin City, individual Tar Heel competitors will face four other top-10 programs in No. 1 Stanford, No. 6 Texas, No. 7 Pepperdine, No. 8 UCLA — as well as No. 11 Florida.
Before returning to Chapel Hill for five straight home matches, the tournament will be a good opportunity for the program to face top competition away from the Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center.
Track and field
After finishing in first and second, respectively, this past weekend at the Dick Taylor Carolina Cup, the men's and women's track and field teams are headed to Columbia, South Carolina, for the Gamecock Inaugural on Friday and Saturday.
Seven Tar Heels with ACC qualifying marks are expected to travel and compete.
After missing the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2006 last season, the men's lacrosse team will be back in action for a pregame scrimmage against Jacksonville on Saturday, Jan. 19. The exhibition against the the Dolphins is the first of two preseason matchups before the season-opener at Mercer.
The fencing team will compete in this weekend's Philadelphia Invitational.
Both Tar Heel teams are looking to bounce back from losses in the last meet on Jan. 13, and this is the meet for it. Last season, both teams performed well at the meet, winning handily in their respective competitions.
Swimming and diving
Over MLK weekend, the swim and dive team opens up ACC competition in Raleigh against N.C. State. UNC faces tough competition in its first match of conference play, as the Wolfpack is ranked No. 4 in the men's and women's rankings. UNC enters the matchup with a 3-1 record on the men's side, and undefeated on the women's.
In its first home meet of the season, the Tar Heels won't suffer from a lack of top competition.
The gymnastics team will welcome Oklahoma and Ball State on Saturday for a home meet in Carmichael Arena. The Sooners, who are currently ranked No. 1 by the College Gymnastics Association, have taken home the NCAA Championship two of the past three years and finished runner up in 2018.
Sylvia Hatchell's program has been tumbling as of late, especially since conference play began two weeks ago. But a Sunday afternoon game at Miami will give the team a chance to recover before a conference gauntlet ahead that features a date against No. 1 Notre Dame and two contests against No. 8 N.C. State.
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