Tar Heels may face ESPN preseason top 3
Non-conference games against three of the top teams in the country, home-and-home series with Duke and N.C. State, home games against new ACC members Pittsburgh and Notre Dame and one final matchup with Maryland highlight the 2013-14 North Carolina men’s basketball schedule, released Thursday afternoon.
The Tar Heels open the season on Nov. 8 against Oakland and open ACC play at Wake Forest on Jan. 5 (8 p.m., ESPNU). UNC’s first conference home game is against reigning ACC champion Miami on Jan. 8 (9 p.m., ESPN2).
The length of junior guard P.J. Hairston’s suspension could go a long way toward determining how UNC will fare against a daunting non-conference schedule. The Tar Heels could face Kentucky, Louisville and Michigan State — the top three teams in ESPN’s early Top 25.
Hairston, the team’s leading scorer last season, was suspended indefinitely after his third run-in with the law this offseason. UNC athletic director Bubba Cunningham said last week that Hairston will play, “but not all the games.”
Assuming both teams win their openers in the Hall of Fame Tipoff Tournament, the Tar Heels’ fifth game will be against defending champion Louisville on Nov. 24 in Uncasville, Conn.
UNC’s seventh game is at Michigan State on Dec. 4 (9 p.m., ESPN) in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, and its ninth game is at home against Kentucky on Dec. 14 (5:15 p.m., ESPN).
The home schedule also includes visits by ACC newcomers Pittsburgh on Feb. 15 (1 p.m., CBS) and Notre Dame on March 3 (7 p.m., ESPN). The game against the Fighting Irish will also serve as senior night for Leslie McDonald.
UNC only plays at Syracuse this season, on Jan. 11 (noon, ESPN).
The UNC-Duke series will take place Feb. 12 at the Smith Center and March 8 at Cameron Indoor Stadium, which will be the final game of the regular season for both teams. Both games are at 9 p.m. on ESPN. UNC hosts N.C. State on Feb. 1 (2 p.m., ESPN or ESPN2) and visits PNC Arena on Feb. 26 (8 p.m., WRAL).
Besides permanent rivals Duke and N.C. State, UNC will play rotating opponents Wake Forest and Notre Dame twice this season.
The Tar Heels will play their final league game against Maryland on Feb. 4 (8 p.m., WRAL) at the Smith Center. UNC will not travel to College Park.
Clemson gets its chance for that elusive first win in their 57th trip to Chapel Hill on Jan. 26 (6 p.m., ESPNU).
UNC has three Saturday/Monday turnarounds, thanks to the ACC’s new contract with ESPN, and all involve travel. However, there are no Thursday/Saturday turnarounds.
NOTE — The annual Late Night with Roy event is Friday, Oct. 25. The Tar Heels will also play an exhibition game against UNC Pembroke on Nov. 1.
|* Conference Games|