The college basketball season is getting closer as practices will open across the sport in the next couple of weeks. Today the ACC announced the league announced all the schedules for all 15 teams, as the conference expects a bounce-back season in the regular season after a strong showing during the NCAA Tournament.
We’re still a few weeks away from the preseason polls being released, but Carolina will enter the season as a favorite to win the national championship, and the prohibitive favorite to win the ACC. Carolina hasn’t won an ACC regular season since sharing one with Virginia in the 2018-19 season and hasn’t won one outright since the 2016-17 season, where they would go on to win the national championship. Let’s take a look at the slate that faces the Tar Heels this season, as Hubert Davis is preparing to lead the program for a second straight season.
In the expanded 20-game conference schedule, UNC has six opponents they’ll host, and play on the road. This year those opponents are Duke, NC State, Wake Forest, Virginia, Notre Dame, and Pittsburgh. Duke and NC State are always staples on the schedule, but adding Wake Forest and Virginia is a nice touch. Wake Forest is coming off their best season in over a decade, and Virginia is set to bounce back from a down season last year, and contend at the top of the ACC. 8 games between Duke, State, Wake, and UVA will remind longtime Tar Heel fans of the glory days of the ACC. As for Notre Dame and Pittsburgh, Carolina has had its fair share of success and struggles against both former Big East schools, but these are better than the alternative teams Carolina could face off against twice.
With Carolina facing off against six teams twice, that leaves 8 games, four home, and four away to fill out the schedule. The teams that will only visit Chapel Hill include Georgia Tech, Miami, Clemson, and Boston College. That’s a very favorable home slate for the Tar Heels, and should allow Carolina to continue to experience home success under Hubert Davis.
As favorable as the home-only slate is, the road-only slate is equally daunting. Carolina faces road trips to Virginia Tech, Louisville, Syracuse, and Florida State. While the Hokies were the team of those four to make the NCAA Tournament, all of those venues have proven difficult for Carolina.
As has become custom over the years, both Duke contests will take place on a Saturday. Carolina will travel to Durham on Saturday, February 4th, the weekend before the Super Bowl. This of course will be the first taste of the rivalry for new Duke head coach Jon Scheyer. The return game will in Chapel Hill on Saturday, March 5th, as Carolina will hold their annual Senior Day festivities, in what will be one of the more emotional Senior Days in recent memory
Carolina only has two sets on Saturday/Monday turnarounds starting with hosting Clemson on Saturday, February 11th, before also hosting Miami on Monday, February 13th. The second one occurs when Carolina hosts Virginia on Saturday, February 25th, before having to go on the road at Florida State, on February, 27th.
The Tar Heels do open ACC play on the road for the fourth time in the last five seasons.
Month by Month Break Down:
December: As mentioned above, Carolina begins ACC play on the road at Virginia Tech on December 4th, before having six days off and hosting Georgia Tech on December 10th. Their next ACC game will take place on either December 30th or 31st, at Pittsburgh.
January: The new year gets kicked off in earnest with back-to-back home games against Wake Forest and Notre Dame, both teams that surprised last year. After that, Carolina hits the road for back-to-back road games, at Virginia and Louisville, road trips that haven’t always been kind to the Tar Heels. Following that, UNC returns home to host Boston College and NC State, before closing out the month at Syracuse
February: Usually the most challenging month, and that happens to be the case once again. Carolina opens up the month by hosting Pittsburgh, before the first of two contests with Duke. After the first encounter with the Blue Devils, Carolina visits Wake Forest, a place that UNC was routed at last year. Following those consecutive road games, UNC returns to Chapel Hill for their first of two Saturday/Monday turnarounds, hosting Clemson, then Miami. After that, arguably the most daunting part of the schedule begins with back-to-back road games against NC State and Notre Dame. Following the trip to South Bend, UNC returns back to the Smith Center, to host Virginia, before the final road trip of the season to Florida State to close out the month.
March: Carolina only has one game in March, when they’ll host Duke to close out the 2022-23 regular season and say farewell to a senior class that will include Armando Bacot and Leaky Black.
Carolina once again has a challenging ACC schedule, but if this team wants to compete for the national championship, they should be more than capable of navigating the 20-game schedule that awaits them.
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