Life moves on.
While the news on Thursday wasn’t the best for UNC going into the 2023-24 season, there’s still the matter of the 2022-23 season that needs to be played.
And it stands to be a good one.
You know this team, right? The one that came within a hair of a surprising national title and handed out the two best victories ever in the UNC-Duke Rivalry? The ones that are almost all back with the exception of swapping Brady Manek for Pete Nance? Yeah! That squad that will be one of the favorites to cut down the nets in 2023 in Houston?
That’s right, there’s still a season to be played, and a big piece of that season was announced on Friday:
If you were to compare the non-conference schedule to something, the beginning of a roller coaster is probably going to be the most apt analogy. You have four games with a slow climb to the action in UNCW, College of Charleston, Gardner-Webb, and James Madison is right at the top of the climb. The horn to that game will be that wonderful “click-clack” sound you hear as the cards disconnect from the chain that pulled you up, and then you rocket full speed to the next part.
Rocket is the best way to put it, too, cause after that four game warm up over two weeks, the Tar Heels go to the Phil Knight Invitational, an event that includes Villanova, Michigan State, and others. The matchups haven’t been announced yet but all teams involved are guaranteed three games. On their way back from Portland, the Tar Heels stopover in Bloomington, Indiana, to play the Hoosiers.
The non-conference schedule continues two weeks later with a December 13th game against The Citadel, before sliding up to MSG for the CBS Sports Classic on the 17th, where it’s been reported the Tar Heels will play Ohio State. The Tar Heels then wrap up their non-conference slate before Christmas by playing in the Jumpman Invitational in Charlotte, where Carolina will play one of Florida, Oklahoma, or Michigan.
Of course, what’s missing are the ACC components. The final exam schedule this year at UNC has the tests starting on December 2nd and going through December 9th. With the expansion to 20 games, the conference has been scheduling one game in early December, with the rest of the season starting before New Year’s Day. Thus, look for an ACC game either on Sunday, December 4th, Saturday, December 10th, or Sunday, December 11th. The Jumpman Invitational will be the last game before Christmas, so one would expect the ACC will schedule some game for that week after Christmas, and then likely one for New Year’s weekend, also.
Just as a reminder, the ACC announced their rotations for this new schedule: Duke, NC State, Notre Dame, Pitt, Virginia, and Wake Forest all will have a home and home with the Tar Heels. Boston College, Clemson, Georgia Tech, and Miami will come to Chapel Hill, while the Tar Heels will travel to Florida State, Louisville, Syracuse, and Virginia Tech.
Last year, the ACC basketball schedule wasn’t announced until the middle of September, and with the ACC Football Kickoff happening next week, one should probably expect a similar timeline as they try to pump up the sport that seemingly controls everything right now. Either way, be prepared for a fun ride.