A little over a week ago, the North Carolina Tar Heels men’s basketball non-conference schedule was revealed, but there still was one piece missing. Although we know what teams would be in the bracket for UNC’s trip to Portland for the PK85 Phil Night Invitational, we didn’t know exactly who the Heels would be facing off with.
On Monday, the bracket was set and now we know the path Carolina will deal with as they go for another Thanksgiving week tournament win.
UNC will open their run on Thanksgiving day at 1 PM ET when they take on the “host” team Portland, from the West Coast Conference. Carolina has previously faced the Pilots five years ago in the PK80 edition of this event, beating them 102-78. The Heels will probably be pretty sizeable favorite to get another win in this one.
Everyone in the eight-team field will be guaranteed at least three games, no matter if they win or lose. In the Tar Heels’ second game, they will definitely face off against one of Iowa State or Villanova. Two tournament teams last year, Villanova will likely be favored in that game as they feature in several of the “too early Top 25” rankings that have been circulating since the end of last season. Should the Heels win their opener, they’ll play the ISU/’Nova winner on the 25th at 5 PM ET. A loss and they’d play the loser earlier that day at 2:30 PM ET.
The third game will be against someone from the other side of the bracket, which will be made up of UConn, Oregon, Alabama, and Michigan State. If preseason rankings hold to form, UNC would play in the championship game on November 27th at 10 PM ET. No matter what happens in the first two games, they’ll play at some point on that day.
In general, the Tar Heels will face off against a pretty deep field in their bracket. Only Portland and Oregon failed to make the NCAA Tournament last year, and UNC, Villanova, and Iowa State were all Sweet 16 teams. It’ll be an interesting couple days in Portland this November.