The North Carolina Tar Heels open the 2017-2018 season in just eight days, taking the court against Northern Iowa at the Smith Center.
This Sunday, the Tar Heels are hosting the Disaster Relief Fund Jamboree with East Carolina, UNC Greensboro, and UNC Wilmington. Not only can fans support hurricane relief efforts, they will see squads led by head coaches close to Carolina. Former UNC guards Jeff Lebo and Wes Miller lead ECU and UNCG, while former UNC assistant coach C.B. McGrath starts his head coaching career with UNCW.
Take a look below at Carolina’s schedule this season, and a breakdown of the big matchups and critical stretches for the Tar Heels.
2017-2018 North Carolina Tar Heels Men's Basketball Schedule
|Friday, November 10||7:00 PM||Northern Iowa||Chapel Hill||ESPNU|
|Wednesday, November 15||8:00 PM||Bucknell||Chapel Hill||ACC Network|
|Monday, November 20||11:30 PM||Stanford||Stanford, CA||ESPN2|
|Thursday, November 23||2:30 PM||Portland||Portland, OR||ESPN||PK80- Phil Knight Invitational presented by State Farm|
|Friday, November 24||TBA||Arkansas or Oklahoma||Portland, OR||ESPN or ESPN3||PK80- Phil Knight Invitational presented by State Farm|
|Sunday, November 26||TBA||Connecticut, DePaul, Michigan State, or Oregon||Portland, OR||TBA||PK80- Phil Knight Invitational presented by State Farm|
|Wednesday, November 29||7:30 PM||Michigan||Chapel Hill||ESPN||ACC/Big Ten Challenge|
|Friday, December 1||8:00 PM||Davidson||Charlotte, NC||ESPN2||Game to be held at the Spectrum Center|
|Sunday, December 3||2:00 PM||Tulane||Chapel Hill||ESPN2|
|Wednesday, December 6||7:00 PM||Western Carolina||Chapel Hill||RSN|
|Sunday, December 17||3:00 PM||Tennessee||Knoxville, TN||ESPN|
|Wednesday, December 20||9:00 PM||Wofford||Chapel Hill||ESPN2|
|Saturday, December 23||1:30 PM||Ohio State||New Orleans, LA||CBS||CBS Sports Classic|
|Saturday, December 30||TBA||Wake Forest||Chapel Hill||ESPN or ESPN2||ACC Opener|
|Wednesday, January 3||7:00 PM||Florida State||Tallahassee, FL||ESPN2|
|Saturday, January 6||TBA||Virginia||Charlottesville, VA||ESPN|
|Tuesday, January 9||8:00 PM||Boston College||Chapel Hill||ACC Network|
|Saturday, January 13||6:00 PM||Notre Dame||South Bend, IN||ESPN or ESPN2|
|Tuesday, January 16||7:00 PM||Clemson||Chapel Hill||RSN|
|Saturday, January 20||2:00 PM||Georgia Tech||Chapel Hill||ESPN or ESPN2|
|Monday, January 22||7:00 PM||Virginia Tech||Blacksburg, VA||ESPN|
|Saturday, January 27||12:00 PM||NC State||Chapel Hill||CBS|
|Tuesday, January 30||7:00 PM||Clemson||Clemson, SC||ESPN2|
|Saturday, February 3||8:00 PM||Pitt||Chapel Hill||ACC Network|
|Thursday, February 8||8:00 PM||Duke||Chapel Hill||ESPN/ACC Network|
|Saturday, February 10||2:00 PM||NC State||Raleigh, NC||ACC Network|
|Monday, February 12||7:00 PM||Notre Dame||Chapel Hill||ESPN|
|Saturday, February 17||8:00 PM||Louisville||Louisville, KY||ESPN|
|Wednesday, February 21||7:00 PM||Syracuse||Syracuse, NY||ESPN|
|Tuesday, February 27||9:00 PM||Miami||Chapel Hill||ESPN|
|Saturday, March 3||8:15 PM||Duke||Durham, NC||ESPN|
|Tuesday, March 6 - Saturday, March 10||TBA||TBA||Brooklyn, NY||TBA||2018 ACC Tournament|
Once again, Coach Roy Williams and the Tar Heels do not take it easy during the non-conference schedule. In their third game, Carolina travels to California to take on Jerod Haase and Stanford. Junior forward Reid Travis averaged 17.4 points per game and 8.9 rebounds per game last year and is on a number of preseason All-American lists.
Early Season Tournament
After Stanford, Carolina will head to the Phil Knight Invitational, a 16-team two-tournament event honoring the co-founder of Nike. Oklahoma (ranked 21st in the preseason 2018 Pomeroy College Basketball Ratings) and Arkansas (ranked 56th by KenPom) face off in the second game of the first session of the Phil Knight Invitational.
If Carolina and Oklahoma are victorious in their first games, they will play on Friday, November 24 at 3:30 PM ET. A game against this Big 12 opponent means that UNC will play at least one team from each of the other conferences in the Power Five during their non-conference schedule.
Tar Heel victories over Portland and Oklahoma or Arkansas advances them to a matchup against Michigan State, Oregon, UConn, or DePaul. Michigan State is ranked second in the preseason AP and USA Today Coaches Polls. Oregon received votes, but did not crack the Top 25 in either poll.
A successful Phil Knight Invitational run will provide Carolina with experience in a high-profile tournament and potentially résumé boosting victories against quality opponents.
Busy Non-conference Schedule
Michigan travels to Chapel Hill for the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Receiving votes in the preseason AP and coaches polls and ranked 32nd by KenPom, the Wolverines are led by 2017-18 preseason All-Big Ten team member Moritz Wagner who averaged 12.1 points per game last year in his sophomore season.
After the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, UNC will have a few games against opponents they cannot look past. Carolina kicks off December by visiting uptown Charlotte where Davidson will host the Tar Heels in the Spectrum Center.
The Heels return home for games against Tulane and Western Carolina before the end of the semester. Coached by Frank McGuire product Mike Dunleavy, Sr., Tulane beat LSU 84-74 in a hurricane relief charity exhibition game on Halloween.
Carolina finishes off its non-conference slate against Tennessee, Wofford, and Ohio State. The Tar Heels survived against the Volunteers last year in Chapel Hill, and this year will have a rematch across the border in Knoxville.
Wofford has a difficult schedule before heading to Chapel Hill, and and the well-tested Terriers should not be overlooked.
The Tar Heels travel to New Orleans to round out non-conference play against Ohio State in the CBS Sports Classic. This is the fourth year of the CBS Sports Classic, and UNC has a 2-1 record in the series.
ACC Schedule - A Tale of Thirds
Besides the fact that Boston College and Duke play December 9, the ACC truly opens conference play on December 30 with a nearly full slate of games.
When looking at UNC’s conference schedule, it can be roughly dissected into thirds. In the first five games, Carolina has a mix of favorable home games and tough ones on the road. Carolina opens league play against an improving, but John Collins-less Wake Forest team.
UNC goes on a two-game road trip in tough environments in Tallahassee and Charlottesville. The Tar Heels come back home for a game against Boston College before traveling to South Bend to take on preseason No. 14 Notre Dame. This year in particular, a good start is essential for the Tar Heels since the final third of conference play will be especially difficult.
In the next third of the schedule, Carolina will likely be favored in each of the games. After the Notre Dame road game, Clemson and Georgia Tech travel to Chapel Hill. The Tar Heels turn around after their Saturday afternoon game against GT and travel to Blacksburg for a Big Monday game against Virginia Tech.
The Tar Heels then get a few more days off before the first trip to the Smith Center for NC State with their new coach, Kevin Keatts. Carolina then travels to Clemson and finishes up this third of the schedule at home on Saturday in prime time against Cam Johnson’s old squad.
The final seven games of the schedule for the Tar Heels will be the most difficult of the regular season, however, it will be plainly clear what kind of team this is by February.
The Tar Heels will get a breather between their Saturday night game against Pitt and their Thursday evening match up against preseason No. 1 Duke. Starting with the Duke game, UNC plays three games in five days. It is a quick turnaround to a Saturday matinee in Raleigh, followed by another Big Monday match up, this time against Notre Dame in Chapel Hill.
There is a five day break before two on the road. First, the Tar Heels play preseason No. 16 Louisville on Saturday in prime time, then on to Syracuse for a Wednesday night game. These are the only regular season games against these opponents.
The Tar Heels get the next Saturday off before closing out the regular season against Miami and Duke. The Hurricanes travel to Chapel Hill for a 9:00 PM Tuesday tipoff, before ending the regular season Saturday night in Durham.
- Coach Roy Williams has never shied away from scheduling tough non-conference games, including those on the road. This year is no different.
- The Phil Knight Invitational will feature some of the biggest programs in college basketball, and will provide some opportunities for victories against teams that will have solid RPIs around selection time. If Joel Berry II is limited, or not available, it will be an even bigger test for the Tar Heels.
- December will be an interesting month for UNC. Davidson and Tennessee challenged the Tar Heels last year, and expect the same type of efforts from those teams this year.
- Carolina’s last loss to Wake Forest was in the conference opener in January 2014. That season, the Tar Heels stumbled out of the blocks with three losses. With how this year’s schedule ends, UNC cannot afford to start league play 0-3.
- This is the first season since 2014 that Carolina plays Notre Dame twice in the regular season.