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).

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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

DateDay, time, TVTorvikAPOpponent
November
9Tuesday, 7:30, ACCN286Loyola-Maryland
12Friday, 9, ACCN309Brown
16Tuesday, 8:30, CBSSN284College of Charleston
20Saturday, 4, ESPN News87Y – Purdue
21Sunday, 1 or 3:30, ABC or ESPN14 or 1218 or 4Y – Tennessee or Villanova
23Tuesday, 7, RSN242UNC Asheville
December
1Wednesday, 9:15, ESPN76X – Michigan
5Sunday, 3, ESPN77Georgia Tech
11Saturday, 8, ACCN204Elon
14Tuesday, 7, ESPN2142Furman
18Saturday, 3, CBS22UCLA
21Tuesday, 7, ACCN185Appalachian State
29Wednesday, 7, ESPN246Virginia Tech
January
1Saturday, noon, ACCN133Boston College
5Wednesday, 9, ESPN229Notre Dame
8Saturday, 1, ESPN6925Virginia
15Saturday, 8, ACCN77Georgia Tech
18Tuesday, TBA, ESPN86Miami
22Saturday, 8, ACCN101Wake Forest
26Wednesday, RSN133Boston College
29Saturday, 2, ACCN74N.C. State
31Monday, 7, ESPN23Louisville
February
5Saturday, 6, ESPN109Duke
8Tuesday, 9, ESPN or ESPN250Clemson
12Saturday, 2, ESPN or ESPN22720Florida State
16Wednesday, 8, ACCN158Pittsburgh
19Saturday, 4, ESPN or ESPN246Virginia Tech
21Monday, 7, ESPN23Louisville
26Saturday, 2 or 4, ESPN or ESPN274N.C. State
28Monday, 7, ESPN63Syracuse
March
5Saturday, 6, ESPN109Duke
Home opponents bolded; CBSN — CBS Sports Network; RSN — regional sports networks;
ACCN — ACC Network; X — ACC/Big Ten Challenge; Y — Hall of Fame Tip-Off; Z — CBS Sports Classic

Photo via @UNC_Basketball

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