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Carolina basketball’s 2023-24 non-conference schedule has been announced

The start of the season is going to be a gauntlet.

NCAA BASKETBALL: MAR 18 Div I Women’s Championship - St. John’s vs North Carolina Photo by Jason Mowry/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Carolina basketball Twitter account announced yesterday the 2023-24 men’s basketball schedule. We have already been getting details about the schedule piece by piece since March, and now we have the full picture of who the Heels will face before they begin ACC play. Here is what the schedule looks like:

Oct 27 vs. St. Augustine’s (preseason game, Chapel Hill)
Nov 6 vs. Radford (Chapel Hill)
Nov 12 vs. Lehigh (Chapel Hill)
Nov 17 vs. UC Riverside (Chapel Hill)
Nov 22 vs. Northern Iowa (Bad Boy Mowers Battle 4 Atlantis on Paradise Island in The Bahamas)
Nov 23 vs. Texas Tech or Villanova (Bad Boy Mowers Battle 4 Atlantis on Paradise Island in The Bahamas)
Nov 24 vs. Arkansas, Memphis, Michigan or Stanford (Bad Boy Mowers Battle 4 Atlantis on Paradise Island in The Bahamas)
Nov 29 vs. Tennessee (ACC-SEC Challenge in Chapel Hill)
Dec 5 vs. Connecticut (Jimmy V Classic in New York)
Dec 16 vs. Kentucky (CBS Sports Classic in Atlanta)
Dec 20 vs. Oklahoma (Jumpman Invitational in Charlotte)
Dec 29 vs. Charleston Southern (Chapel Hill)

The most notable part about this schedule is that the Heels will not play a true road game before ACC play. Whether there is a specific reason why this isn’t happening is unknown, but more than anything it feels like that is just how everything fell into place. This shouldn’t be looked at as the new normal, however, because the Heels do have a home-and-home series against Kansas starting in 2024, so for 2023 it is merely a note rather than a concern. It is worth pointing out that the NCAA NET rankings love road wins, but there’s enough tough neutral court games to balance things out.

Moving on to the neutral games: this is an extremely tough part of the schedule for the Heels. Things start off with Northern Iowa in the Battle 4 Atlantis, but then they have to face off against either Texas Tech or Villanova, and then after that came they could play either Arkansas, Memphis, Michigan, or Stanford. All of these teams have the potential to be NCAA Tournament teams, so it will be a good early test for Hubert Davis’ fresh-look squad.

Once the Heels return from the Bahamas, Tennessee will be waiting for them in Chapel Hill as part of the ACC/SEC challenge, followed by games against Connecticut, Kentucky, and Oklahoma, with the three of those games taking place on neutral courts. Needless to say, this schedule isn’t short of challenges for the Heels, but also one could wonder if they will be able to go into ACC play in better shape than they did last season. It’s worth noting that the Jimmy V Classic matchup against Connecticut will take place in Madison Square Garden, which will serve as a homecoming game for Hubert Davis, Elliot Cadeau, R.J. Davis, and Cormac Ryan. The Heels will also play Oklahoma in Charlotte, which is of course a second home court for the Heels.

This year’s non-conference schedule is as challenging as it possibly could be, which truly gives UNC the best chance to make a lot of noise early in the season. Alternatively, if they have the same issues as last season, things could be a disaster. With so many new faces on the team, it’s hard to say which timeline we will see, but one thing is for certain: this team will be battle-tested either way before entering conference play. What do you think of UNC’s schedule? Let us know in the comments below.