UNC basketball heads to Bahamas Friday, Saturday

Aug. 13, 2014 @ 11:44 PM

Like every team, North Carolina enters the 2014-15 season with plenty of questions.

Who will start in the backcourt alongside Marcus Paige? Will anyone besides Paige be a consistent 3-point threat? Who will provide frontcourt depth behind center Kennedy Meeks and power forward Brice Johnson? And which of the three McDonalds All-America freshmen can contribute right away?

The Tar Heels will start gathering answers sooner than most. UNC began practicing Monday to prepare for a pair of exhibition games in the Bahamas later this week.

“Our young men will enjoy this trip and it will give us an early chance to see what we have,” UNC coach Roy Williams said in a statement. “In particular, it is a good opportunity for us to see the three freshmen play.”

Teams are allowed to take international trips during the preseason once every four years, which allows those programs to begin practicing before the school year even starts.

UNC has taken advantage of this rule twice under Williams, going to the Bahamas in 2005 and 2010.

This year, the Tar Heels will face the Providence Storm on Friday at 5 p.m. and the Bahamas All-Stars on Saturday at 5 p.m. at the Kendal Isaacs Gymnasium. The games will not be broadcast on TV, radio or online.

Ohio State just concluded a similar schedule, beating the Storm 115-63 and the All-Stars 86-66. Pittsburgh beat the All-Stars 113-59 earlier in the month.

The competition will be much tighter when the Tar Heels return to the Bahamas Nov. 26-28 for the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament, which also includes Georgetown, Florida, UCLA, Wisconsin, Butler, UAB and Oklahoma.

By then, UNC will have had more than three months to learn what type of team it will be.