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UNC Tar Heels Basketball: Schedule Preview

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Another challenging schedule will pay dividends for the Tar Heels in March.

NCAA Basketball: ACC Operation Basketball Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight, the North Carolina Tar Heels kick off the 2018-19 schedule with an exhibition game versus Mount Olive. Next Tuesday, the season begins in earnest with a trip to Spartanburg, SC for the regular season opener against Wofford.

Once again this season, Roy Williams and the Tar Heels will have a challenging schedule. With a few question marks about starting lineups and combinations on the floor, the tough nonconference schedule will play an important role heading into conference play.

Below is the full 2018-19 schedule:

2018-19 Men’s Basketball Schedule

Date Opponent/Event Location Time (ET) TV
Date Opponent/Event Location Time (ET) TV
Friday, November 2 Mount Olive (exhibition) Chapel Hill, NC 7:30 PM ACC Network Extra
Tuesday, November 6 Wofford Spartanburg, SC 7:00 PM ESPN2
Friday, November 9 Elon Elon, NC 7:00 PM ESPNU
Monday, November 12 Stanford Chapel Hill, NC 7:00 PM ESPN2
Friday, November 16 Tennessee Tech (Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational) Chapel Hill, NC 7:00 PM RSN
Monday, November 19 St. Francis (Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational) Chapel Hill, NC 8:00 PM ACC Network Extra
Thursday, November 22 Texas (Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational) Las Vegas, NV 7:30 PM FS1
Friday, November 23 Michigan State or UCLA (Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational) Las Vegas, NV 4:00 PM or 6:30 PM Fox
Wednesday, November 28 Michigan (ACC-Big Ten Challenge) Ann Arbor, MI 9:00 PM ESPN
Wednesday, December 5 UNCW Chapel Hill, NC 9:00 PM ESPN2
Saturday, December 15 Gonzaga Chapel Hill, NC 7:00 PM ESPN2
Saturday, December 22 Kentucky (CBS Sports Classic) Chicago, IL 5:15 PM CBS
Saturday, December 29 Davidson Chapel Hill, NC Noon ESPN2
Wednesday, January 2 Harvard Chapel Hill, NC 7:00 PM ESPN2 or ESPNU
Saturday, January 5 Pitt Pittsburgh, PA Noon Raycom
Tuesday, January 8 NC State Raleigh, NC 9:00 PM ESPN or ESPN 2
Saturday, January 12 Louisville Chapel Hill, NC Noon ESPN or ESPN 2
Tuesday, January 15 Notre Dame Chapel Hill, NC 9:00 PM ESPN
Saturday, January 19 Miami Coral Gables, FL Noon ESPN or ESPN 2
Monday, January 21 Virginia Tech Chapel Hill, NC 7:00 PM ESPN
Tuesday, January 29 Georgia Tech Atlanta, GA 7:00 PM RSN
Saturday, February 2 Louisville Louisville, KY Noon ESPN or ESPN 2
Tuesday, February 5 NC State Chapel Hill, NC 8:00 PM Raycom
Saturday, February 9 Miami Chapel Hill, NC Noon Raycom
Monday, February 11 Virginia Chapel Hill, NC 7:00 PM ESPN
Saturday, February 16 Wake Forest Winston-Salem, NC Noon Raycom
Wednesday, February 20 Duke Durham, NC 9:00 PM ESPN and Raycom
Saturday, February 23 Florida State Chapel Hill, NC 3:45 PM CBS
Tuesday, February 26 Syracuse Chapel Hill, NC 7:00 PM or 9:00 PM ESPN or Raycom
Saturday, March 2 Clemson Clemson, SC 4:00 PM or 6:00 PM ESPN or ESPN 2
Tuesday March 5 Boston College Chestnut Hill, MA 8:00 PM Raycom
Saturday, March 9 Duke Chapel Hill, NC 6:00 PM or 8:00 PM ESPN
Tuesday, March 12 ACC Tournament First Round Charlotte, NC Noon, 2:20 PM, 7:00 PM ESPN2, ESPNU, Raycom
Wednesday, March 13 ACC Tournament Second Round Charlotte, NC Noon, 2:20 PM, 7:00 PM, 9:20 PM ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, Raycom
Thursday, March 14 ACC Tournament Quarterfinals Charlotte, NC Noon, 2:20 PM, 7:00 PM, 9:20 PM ESPN and Raycom
Friday, March 15 ACC Tournament Semifinals Charlotte, NC 7:00 PM, 9:20 PM ESPN or ESPN 2 and Raycom
Saturday, March 16 ACC Tournament Finals Charlotte, NC 8:30 PM ESPN and Raycom
March 19-20 NCAA Tournament First Four Dayton, OH
March 21-24 NCAA Tournament First and Second Rounds
March 28-31 NCAA Tournament Regionals
April 6 and 8 NCAA Tournament Final Four Minneapolis, MN

Preseason Top 25

Carolina will face 10 teams that are ranked in the preseason AP Top 25. Of these, six are in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

The ACC tied a league record this year with seven teams ranked in the preseason poll. With the Tar Heels at no. 8, the other conference schools ranked includes:

  • No. 4 Duke
  • No. 5 Virginia
  • No. 15 Virginia Tech
  • No. 16 Syracuse
  • No. 17 Florida State
  • No. 22 Clemson

Notre Dame, Louisville, and Miami earned votes in the poll, with NC State receiving one vote.

Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, UNC will have a tough slate of non-conference games, including:

  • Either no. 10 Michigan State or no. 21 UCLA in the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational
  • No. 19 Michigan on the road in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge
  • No. 3 Gonzaga in the Smith Center
  • No. 2 Kentucky in Chicago for the CBS Sports Classic

Davidson also received a vote in the poll and the Wildcats are the first opponent after Christmas.

Combined with the opener at Wofford, the first game in Vegas versus Texas, and matchups against former players and assistant coaches of Williams’s Jerod Haase (head coach of Stanford) and C.B. McGrath (head coach of UNCW), this is an impressive slate of games.

In other words, there are no nights off for the Tar Heels before league play.

ACC Regular Season

Coach Williams will begin his quest for his ninth ACC regular season championship on January 5, 2019 on the road against Pitt. The Heels turn around three days later for another road game against NC State.

With a revived fan base in Pittsburgh with new head coach Jeff Capel and the usual shenanigans at PNC Arena, these will be early challenges for the Tar Heels.

Carolina will open league play at home against Louisville on January 12 and will play the next three of four at home.

The one road game during that stretch will be at Miami on Saturday. UNC will have a short turnaround for a 7:00 PM tipoff on Monday against Virginia Tech. The Tar Heels will have to empty the tank for these two games against tough opponents because there will be an eight-day break until their next game.

This break occurs six games into the conference schedule and leaves 12 games down the stretch.

After returning from a two-game road trip against Georgia Tech and Louisville, there will be another pivotal home stand against NC State, Miami, and Virginia.

The Tar Heels get the Cavaliers only once during the regular season and it will be on the Roy Williams Court at the Dean E. Smith Center.

Carolina and Duke will meet for the first time on Wednesday, February 20, 2019 in Durham. This is the latest the two teams have met for the first game in the season series since February 20, 2014 when unranked UNC beat no. 5 Duke 74-66 in the Smith Center.

This February 20 date is the latest initial matchup since a 72-62 Carolina victory on February 28, 1959 in Woollen Gym.

UNC will have another four-day, two-game road trip against Clemson and Boston College before concluding the regular season versus Duke in Chapel Hill.

As usual, the ACC schedule is a grind and will be tough no matter the school. However, this year’s slate, most notably the home game against Virginia three-game home stand near the middle of the schedule, has a couple more positives than in previous seasons.


Which is your most anticipated nonconference matchup?

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    Michigan State/UCLA in Las Vegas
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    Michigan in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge
    (1 vote)
  • 31%
    Gonzaga in Chapel Hill
    (34 votes)
  • 66%
    Kentucky in the CBS Sports Classic
    (72 votes)
108 votes total Vote Now


Which is the most important ACC regular season game(s) on the schedule?

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    Opener at Pitt
    (2 votes)
  • 14%
    Back-to-back road games after the eight-day break
    (15 votes)
  • 31%
    Duke in Durham
    (33 votes)
  • 52%
    Duke in Chapel Hill
    (55 votes)
105 votes total Vote Now

What are your reactions to this year’s schedule? Let us know in the comments below.