The Maui Invitational, one of the most prestigious holiday tournaments in college basketball, released its bracket for this year's event, and Carolina is slated to play UNLV in the opening round of the tournament, at 9:30 November 30th. The Maui Invitational which is usually held in Maui, Hawaii has been relocated to Asheville, North Carolina due to travel restrictions in regards to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Although it would appear that Carolina would have a home court advantage of some sorts, it’s highly unlikely that fans will be allowed to attend the tournament.
In addition to the matchup against UNLV, Carolina is slated to play the winner/loser of the Stanford-Alabama contest. The Tar Heels of course met the Crimson Tide last year in the Battle 4 Atlantis, a tournament opening win for Carolina. The relationship with Stanford head coach Jerod Haase would make for an interesting contest, as Haase played for Coach Williams at Kansas, and was on his staff in Chapel Hill before leaving for UAB, then eventually Stanford. The Cardinal have also been involved in recruiting battles with Carolina, as that program is trying to become a national contender for the first time since the late 1990’s.
Texas is also in this year’s tournament, but Carolina couldn’t meet them until the final round of the event. Since Roy Williams came to North Carolina, the Longhorns have had the best of the Tar Heels' numbers whether it’s been Rick Barnes or Shaka Smart on the sidelines for Texas. Indiana is almost in the field this year, but like Texas, wouldn’t take on Carolina until the final day of action. Whether it’s on campus or a neutral court, it’s always fun to see two of the sports blue blood programs go to head to head. Finally in-state school Davidson will also be competing in Asheville, and if fans are allowed, you’d figure there would be a nice crowd on hand to support the Wildcats.
It’s unclear right now what the rest of the non-conference schedule will look like for the 2020-21 season. Practice will begin later this week, with the tip-off to the season starting November 25th. Carolina and the ACC are committed to competing in the annual ACC/Big 10 Challenge, but there’s yet to be a schedule for the competition at this time. The ACC has also yet to release their conference slate, but you can expect league play to begin before the new year, with 20 ACC games being played.
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