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Heel Tough Blog: Heels to Face Final Four Team in Secret Scrimmage

Believe it or not, the start of the 2023=24 college basketball season is less than two months away, and the start of preseason practice will get underway later this month. Now, we already know Carolina’s non-conference schedule, and we’ll soon learn their ACC slate, and today we found out who will be the secret scrimmage opponent in the preseason. Over the years, Carolina has faced off against many high-profile programs, coming off deep NCAA Tournament runs, and while Florida Atlantic isn’t a college basketball power by any means, they are coming off a Final Four berth, as a No. 9 seed in the 2023 Big Dance. The Owls, went 35-4 last season, and they return all five starters from a team that was a last-second shot away from potentially playing for the national championship, meaning they will provide as much as a test as any other team Hubert Davis could’ve scheduled.

The secret scrimmages have grown more popular in recent years, as programs give up a public exhibition, to play against a higher quality team, in a controlled environment. Hubert Davis spent his entire off-season rebuilding his program, after the Tar Heels went 20-13 last season, and missed the NCAA Tournament, despite being preseason ranked #1. Like many teams do now, Davis overhauled his program via the transfer portal, bringing in a number of high-profile transfers in Cormac Ryan, and Harrison Ingram. They are supplemented by a reclassified Elliot Cadeau, who is already being projected as a top-10 pick in the 2024 NBA Draft. All of those newcomers, join the record-setting Armando Bacot, and the steady R.J. Davis, who no longer has to share a backcourt with Caleb Love, who transferred out of the program this off-season.

When you look at the various preseason rankings for the 2023-24 season, the Owls find themselves solidly inside the top 10 after their run last season, and the fact they returned all of their starters. As for the Tar Heels, who are usually a top team in the rankings, they are coming in as high as #13, or as low as #21, and even though this game won’t count towards the record, it will be a good test for this new look Carolina Basketball squad, seeking a bounce back 2023-24 campaign.

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