The Tar Heels’ basketball schedule has been coming out painfully slow. First we confirmed the non-conference schedule, then the tournaments the Tar Heels are in announced their matchups, and the ACC/B1G Challenge — likely later than usual thanks to the Big 10’s new TV deal that starts without ESPN next year — announced their matchups. All that was missing was the little thing that would actually comprise the meat of the schedule: the 20 game ACC schedule.
Finally, on Tuesday, the ACC decided to grace us with their matchups:
Of course, times still aren’t released yet as college basketball gets closer and closer to the college football model where we don’t know times until almost before the game itself, regardless, we at least have days set.
One thing you may notice is the fact that before we pass Christmas, Carolina will play two ACC games instead of just the one they had been going with. This year, Carolina will start their ACC season in the gym where their 2021-22 season started the turnaround: Virginia Tech. Remember, the game against the Hokies followed the stunning loss to Pittsburgh, and the Tar Heels won in Blacksburg and wouldn’t lose again until the ACC Tournament semifinals. The game on December 4th will serve as sort of an unofficial turning of the page to basketball season as the ACC Football Championship will have been played the day before. Carolina will then finish up Exam Week and play Georgia Tech in Chapel Hill the next Saturday, December 10th.
The opening of the season isn’t the only time that Carolina is being used to help celebrate something. Their Sunday, February 19th game against NC State in Raleigh comes the day after the Carolina Hurricanes play the Washington Capitals in Carter-Finely Stadium, and it wasn’t an accident according to Mike Forman, CMO for the Hurricanes:
Before that, the Carolina-Duke rematch in Cameron Indoor Stadium will happen on February 4th, aka the Saturday of the off week before the Super Bowl. It’s the same date the first game was played last season, and again, it’s been strategically placed to get folks thinking about basketball as football has, mostly, come to an end.
Adam Lucas does his usual schedule breakdown and notes that the one favor Carolina got this season was the low amount of short-rest situations. Carolina only has two Saturday/Monday situations, and they don’t happen till mid-February, and the first one will be two straight games in Chapel Hill. The only other sticky part of the schedule will be the end of the Phil Knight Invitational on late Sunday night, November 27th and having to fly to Bloomington to play Indiana on Wednesday, November 30th, and then the aforementioned ACC opener on December 4th in Blacksburg.
The abundance of neutral court events plus the opening of the season on the road has led to only two games in Chapel Hill in December: Georgia Tech on December 10th and The Citadel on December 13th. After that, the Tar Heels don’t play on Roy Williams Court again until January 4th against Wake Forest. It’s likely the coaching staff realized the home schedule was going to look like this, as the Tar Heels open their season in Chapel Hill on November 7th and play four straight at home before the Knight event. It is the only time in the season where the Tar Heels will play more than two games in a row at home. In total, the Tar Heels go three weeks from November 20th to December 10th without playing in Chapel Hill, and then another three weeks from December 13th to January 4th without playing at home.
Finally, the schedule makers seemed to do their usual job of back-loading the schedule once the Super Bowl has been played. The Monday after the Super Bowl sees Carolina play Miami, then the rest is at State, at Notre Dame, Virginia, at Florida State, and then host the Blue Devils in Chapel Hill before the post season begins.
We’re about two weeks out from Live Action, and now that we know the schedule it’s time to get ready to enjoy this squad as they set their sights on a redemption in Houston-in more ways than one.