By R.L. Bynum
It will be important for Hubert Davis’ first Carolina team as head coach to quickly build chemistry during a closed scrimmage, an exhibition and first three regular-season games.
After that, the No. 19 Tar Heels could potentially face four top-seven teams before Christmas. CBS Sports ranked UNC’s schedule as the second-toughest in the country.
The Tar Heels visit Florida on Saturday for a closed scrimmage and meet Division II Elizabeth City State in a Nov. 5 exhibition.
In Carolina’s first three regular-season games, the Tar Heels face what should be sure victories against teams toward the bottom of Bart Torvik’s preseason projections: Loyola of Maryland (286), Brown (309) and College of Charleston (284).
It’s fortunate that UNC, which Torvik ranks No. 21, will have that chance to mesh together so many new players while using a different offensive system because of what comes next.
At the Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic in Uncasville, Conn., Carolina faces No. 7 Purdue (8 in Torvik’s ranking) on Nov. 20 and either No. 4 Villanova (12) or No. 18 Tennessee (14) on Nov. 21.
After a drop in opponent caliber facing a UNC Asheville (242), the Tar Heels welcome No. 6 Michigan (7, according to Torvik) to the Smith Center before their ACC opener at Georgia Tech (77).
Following two weaker opponents in Elon (204) and Furman (142), UNC goes to Las Vegas to face No. 2 UCLA (2, according to Torvik) in the CBS Sports Classic.
After a home game against Appalachian State (185), it’s all ACC opponents after that.
The Heels get a bit of a break in that they twice face Boston College, the second-lowest-rated league team according to Torvik at 133, and only face the highest-ranked ACC opponents other than No. 9 Duke (10 Torvik) at home in No. 20 Florida State (27 Torvik) and No. 25 Virginia (69 Torvik).
UNC faces Duke and unranked Louisville (23) twice.
Torvik projects UNC to finish 20–10 overall and 13–7 in the league.
If nothing else, the NCAA tournament selection committee shouldn’t have any issues with the Tar Heels’ overall strength of schedule.
UNC’s strength of schedule
|Date||Day, time, TV||Torvik||AP||Opponent|
|9||Tuesday, 7:30, ACCN||286||Loyola-Maryland|
|12||Friday, 9, ACCN||309||Brown|
|16||Tuesday, 8:30, CBSSN||284||College of Charleston|
|20||Saturday, 4, ESPN News||8||7||Y – Purdue|
|21||Sunday, 1 or 3:30, ABC or ESPN||14 or 12||18 or 4||Y – Tennessee or Villanova|
|23||Tuesday, 7, RSN||242||UNC Asheville|
|1||Wednesday, 9:15, ESPN||7||6||X – Michigan|
|5||Sunday, 3, ESPN||77||Georgia Tech|
|11||Saturday, 8, ACCN||204||Elon|
|14||Tuesday, 7, ESPN2||142||Furman|
|18||Saturday, 3, CBS||2||2||UCLA|
|21||Tuesday, 7, ACCN||185||Appalachian State|
|29||Wednesday, 7, ESPN2||46||Virginia Tech|
|1||Saturday, noon, ACCN||133||Boston College|
|5||Wednesday, 9, ESPN2||29||Notre Dame|
|8||Saturday, 1, ESPN||69||25||Virginia|
|15||Saturday, 8, ACCN||77||Georgia Tech|
|18||Tuesday, TBA, ESPN||86||Miami|
|22||Saturday, 8, ACCN||101||Wake Forest|
|26||Wednesday, RSN||133||Boston College|
|29||Saturday, 2, ACCN||74||N.C. State|
|31||Monday, 7, ESPN||23||Louisville|
|5||Saturday, 6, ESPN||10||9||Duke|
|8||Tuesday, 9, ESPN or ESPN2||50||Clemson|
|12||Saturday, 2, ESPN or ESPN2||27||20||Florida State|
|16||Wednesday, 8, ACCN||158||Pittsburgh|
|19||Saturday, 4, ESPN or ESPN2||46||Virginia Tech|
|21||Monday, 7, ESPN||23||Louisville|
|26||Saturday, 2 or 4, ESPN or ESPN2||74||N.C. State|
|28||Monday, 7, ESPN||63||Syracuse|
|5||Saturday, 6, ESPN||10||9||Duke|
ACCN — ACC Network; X — ACC/Big Ten Challenge; Y — Hall of Fame Tip-Off; Z — CBS Sports Classic
Photo via @UNC_Basketball