After much speculation, Carolina Basketball announced their fully revised non-conference slate for the 2020-21 basketball season. The ongoing national pandemic forced the season to be delayed, causing a shorter season. While college football decided to go with a fully involved conference season only, college basketball allowed a non-conference season, mainly so that all the prestigious holiday tournaments, and cross conference challenges to be played. As a result, Carolina will only be playing 7 non-conference games this season.
Before the Tar Heels compete in the Maui Invitational, which has been relocated to Asheville, North Carolina, they’ll host the College of Charleston, the night before Thanksgiving. Following the home opener, the Tar Heels will make the trip to Asheville for the relocated holiday tournament, which has been pushed back a week from its normal schedule.
In Maui, Carolina will be a heavy favorite to win the tournament, despite coming off a 14-19 record. This year's field features Indiana, Texas, Stanford and Providence to name a few, all teams which Carolina will be favored and expected to beat. They open their Maui competition with UNLV on November 30th.
Following Maui, Carolina will only have 3 non-conference games before ACC play begins. They’ll travel to Iowa City on December 8th, to take on the Hawkeyes in the ACC/Big 10 Challenge. The last time these two teams met was in Chapel Hill, an upset win for the Hawkeyes. This is the first time Carolina will have played in Iowa City since the late 1980’s. Following the trip to Iowa, Carolina will come back home to host in-state opponent Elon, on December 12th. The game against the Phoenix continues a great relationship with the small private school in Burlington, North Carolina, as Roy Williams always finds a way to take care of the smaller schools. To complete their non-conference slate, the Tar Heels will travel to Cleveland, and take on Ohio State in the CBS Sports Classic. The two schools met last season in Chapel Hill for the ACC/Big 10 Challenge, a blowout victory for the Buckeyes. They last met in this particular year in 2017, a Tar Heel victory in New Orleans.
The 7 game non-conference schedule means that Carolina will only play 27 regular season games, before the ACC Tournament. This is the fewest amount of games the Tar Heels will have played since the 2005-06 season.