UNC Basketball: Tar Heels unveil 2018-19 non-conference schedule

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 07: Luke Maye
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 07: Luke Maye /

Tar Heels face bevy of NCAA Tournament teams in 2018

The North Carolina men’s basketball program released its 2018-19 non-conference basketball schedule on Monday morning, and it’s highlighted by a Thanksgiving tournament in Las Vegas, the annual ACC/Big 10 Challenge, Gonzaga’s first trip to Chapel Hill, and a Tar Heels’ bout with the Kentucky Wildcats in the Windy City.

North Carolina begins the season with a November 6th road game in Spartanburg, South Carolina against the Wofford Terriers. Very few Tar Heel fans have forgotten the surprising 79-75 home defeat that the Tar Heels suffered last season at the hands of the Terriers. An early season contest that fans would typically overlook becomes a must-watch game for North Carolina fans.

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North Carolina will face Elon in the second game of the season, helping the Phoenix usher in a new era of basketball with the opening of the Schar Center. The Schar Center is a 5,100-seat state-of-the-art arena and convocation center that welcomes the Tar Heels to campus for the first time in nearly seven decades.

The Tar Heels will face two former assistant coaches in Stanford’s Jerod Haase and UNC Wilmington head coach C.B. McGrath. Haase and the Cardinal will be in Chapel Hill for a November 12th game, and McGrath will bring the Seahawks to the Smith Center in early December.

The Tar Heels return to Las Vegas for the second time in three seasons when they participate in the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational. The 2018 LVI field includes North Carolina, Michigan State, Texas and UCLA. The tournament begins with games in Chapel Hill against Tennessee Tech and St. Francis before traveling to Las Vegas on Thanksgiving weekend.

On December 15th, the Gonzaga Bulldogs travel to Chapel Hill for their first ever meeting against the Tar Heels in the Smith Center. The non-conference matchup will mark the first time that the teams have met since North Carolina won the 2017 NCAA Championship Game over Gonzaga in Phoenix.

North Carolina will face off with Kentucky in the CBS Sports Classic in Chicago the following week. It’s the first meeting between the two long-time non-conference rivals since the Tar Heels beat the Wildcats on a last-second Luke Maye game winner in the 2017 Elite 8.

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The Tar Heels will finish off the non-conference schedule with home games against Davidson and Harvard before beginning ACC play the weekend of January 5th.