How to watch UNC basketball exhibition, which should be even more one-sided than usual

By R.L. Bynum

If you can’t make it to the Smith Center for top-ranked Carolina’s exhibition Friday night against Johnson C. Smith, the only way to watch at home is to stream the broadcast.

The television broadcast of the 7:30 game will stream on this ACC Network Extra (ESPN3) link, with Kyle Straub on the play-by-play and 2009 national champion Marcus Ginyard as the color analyst.

If you can’t access the stream, you can listen to the Tar Heel Sports Network radio call from Jones Angell and 1993 national champion Eric Montross on many affiliate stations, the GoHeels app or The Varsity Network app. Some radio affiliates will air high school football games instead of the Carolina exhibition.

Upper-level tickets are still available on the UNC Athletics website for $15.

Calling this a one-sided matchup would be an understatement. Johnson C. Smith’s win total all of last season is equal to Carolina’s number of victories in the NCAA tournament.

The Golden Bulls, picked to finish ninth in the 12-team CIAA, went 5–20 and finished last season with four consecutive losses and defeats in eight of their last nine games. Back for Johnson C. Smith is 6–9, 220-pound graduate student center Augustine Ominu, who averaged 14.3 points and 8.0 rebounds and earned All-CIAA honors last season.



Since 2003, the NCAA has allowed Division I schools to play two exhibition games against Division II or lower schools. They can also play one exhibition and one closed scrimmage against a Division I team. The Tar Heels have opted for the latter in recent years, with this season’s closed scrimmage last Saturday at home against Rutgers.

It’s no surprise that UNC is 23–0 in those preseason public exhibitions, including four wins against UNC Pembroke, with all of the exhibitions against North Carolina schools.

Carolina played two exhibition games in four of the first five seasons they were allowed. But since 2007, the Tar Heels have only played two exhibitions once, when they beat Fayetteville State and Belmont Abbey in 2014.

The most one-sided exhibition was the 78-point win (112–34) in that 2014 Belmont Abbey exhibition, and the closest was a 91–80 victory over Barton College in 2017. Only one regular-season win in program history came by a wider margin than that Belmont Abbey exhibition, an 84-point home win in 1985 over Manhattan (129–45).

Johnson C. Smith will become the seventh CIAA team to play Carolina in a preseason exhibition.

Other CIAA teams who have played exhibitions against Carolina are Elizabeth City State (83–55 last season), Fayetteville State (111–58 in 2014 and 94–58 in 2005), Shaw (114–62 in 2007 and 81–54 in 2012), Saint Augustine’s (110–79 in 2006), Winston-Salem State (96–61 in 2019 and 113–53 in 2004) and N.C. Central (97–59 in 2003).

The Eagles, who left the CIAA in 2007 and joined the MEAC in 2010, have since visited Carolina in regular-season games losses in 2009 (89–42), 2014 (76–60) and 2020 (73–67).

Friday’s exhibition leaves Livingstone College as the only CIAA school in North Carolina that’s never faced UNC in an exhibition.

Carolina has played Conference Carolinas teams six times, twice each against Belmont Abbey, Mount Olive and Barton.

UNC exhibition victories

2021 — 83–55 over Elizabeth City State (CIAA)
2019 — 96–61 over Winston-Salem State (CIAA)
2018 — 107–64 over Mount Olive (Conference Carolinas)
2017 — 91–80 over Barton College (Conference Carolinas)
2016 — 104–63 over UNC Pembroke (Peach Belt Conference)
2015 — 99–49 over Guilford (Old Dominion Athletic Conference)
2014 — 111–58 over Fayetteville State (CIAA); 112–34 over Belmont Abbey (Conference Carolinas)
2013 — 82–63 over UNC Pembroke (Peach Belt Conference)
2012 — 81–54 over Shaw (CIAA)
2011 — 100–58 over UNC Pembroke (Peach Belt Conference)
2010 — 108–67 over Barton College (Conference Carolinas)
2009 — 107–59 over Belmont Abbey (Conference Carolinas)
2008 — 102–62 over UNC Pembroke (Peach Belt Conference)
2007 — 114–62 over Shaw (CIAA); 107–52 over Lenoir-Rhyne (South Atlantic Conference)
2006 — 110–79 over St. Augustine’s (CIAA); 140–101 over Pfeiffer (South Atlantic Conference)
2005 — 94–58 over Fayetteville State (CIAA); 89–63 over Catawba (South Atlantic Conference)
2004 — 113–53 over Winston-Salem State (CIAA); 100–68 over Mount Olive (Conference Carolinas)
2003 — 97–59 over N.C. Central (CIAA)

(current ranking)
28FridayW, 101–40Johnson C. Smith HomeExhibition
7MondayW, 69–56UNCWHome1–0
11FridayW, 102–86College of CharlestonHome2–0
15TuesdayW, 72–66Gardner-WebbHome3–0
20SundayW, 80–64James MadisonHome4–0
Phil Knight Invitational
24ThursdayW, 89–81First round: PortlandPortland5–0
25FridayL, 70–65Semifinals:
Iowa State
27SundayL, 103–101,
4 OTs
No. 18 Alabama
ACC/Big Ten Challenge
30Wednesday9:15 No. 11 IndianaBloomington, Ind.ESPN
4Sunday3 p.m.Virginia TechBlacksburg, Va.ACCN
10Saturday3:15Georgia TechHomeESPN
13Tuesday7 p.m.The CitadelHomeESPN2
CBS Sports Classic
17Saturday3 p.m.Ohio StateNew YorkCBS
Jumpman Invitational
21Wednesday7 MichiganCharlotteESPN
30 Friday TBAPittsburghPittsburghACCN
4Wednesday9 p.m.Wake ForestHomeACCN
7Saturday11:30 a.m.Notre DameHomeESPN2
10Tuesday9 p.m.No. 5 VirginiaCharlottesvilleESPN or ESPN2
14Saturday2 p.m.LouisvilleLouisville, Ky.ESPN
17Tuesday7 p.m.Boston CollegeHomeRSN
21Saturday5 p.m.N.C. StateHomeACCN
24Tuesday9 p.m.SyracuseSyracuse, N.Y.ESPN
1Wednesday7 p.m.PittsburghHomeACCN
4Saturday6:30No. 8 DukeDurhamESPN
7Tuesday7 p.m.Wake ForestWinston-SalemESPN or ESPN2
11Saturday2 p.m.ClemsonHomeESPN or ESPN2
13Monday7 p.m.MiamiHomeESPN
19Sunday1 p.m.N.C. StateRaleighESPN
22Wednesday9 p.m.Notre DameSouth Bend, Ind.ESPN or ESPN2
25Saturday6 or 8No. 5 VirginiaHomeESPN
27Monday7 p.m.Florida StateTallahassee, Fla.ESPN
4Saturday6 or 6:30No. 8 DukeHomeESPN
ACC Tournament
If tickets for home games are available, you can purchase them here. ACCN means the game airs on ACC Network. RSN means the game airs on regional sports networks (in many cases, Bally Sports but also MASN, NESN and Yes Network.)

Photo via @UNC_Basketball

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