By Adam Lucas
1. As all the time when the brand new schedule is launched, test first for the short turnarounds. This 12 months’s schedule contains simply two. The first options each halves on the Smith Center, which is a big profit. Carolina hosts Clemson on Feb. 11 after which hosts Miami on Feb. 13. The second two-fer is more durable, because the Tar Heels host Virginia on Feb. 25 after which play at Florida State on Feb. 27. That’s a tough mixture of a tricky opponent to organize for—and a group that needs to be one of the ACC frontrunners—after which a aircraft journey the following day to a different possible league challenger.
For that cause, the closing kick is formidable. The Tar Heels play two on the highway (at NC State and at Notre Dame, a venue the place they’ve struggled not too long ago) after which undergo Virginia, FSU and Duke within the span of every week.
2. A journey stretch that may stagger even an NBA group is the centerpiece of the nonconference schedule and now features a league battle. The Tar Heels make a cross-nation journey to take part within the PK85 in Portland. The championship recreation is performed late on Sunday night time. Logistics are nonetheless being decided, however 72 hours later Carolina is due in Bloomington to face Indiana. And 72 hours after that, the Heels open Atlantic Coast Conference play in Blacksburg towards Virginia Tech.
The slight head-shaker right here is that Dec. 1 is a studying day for the University, and Dec. 2 and three are examination days. But tv contracts, as we’ve got discovered, do not pause for exams.
3. The highway ACC opener towards the Hokies means Carolina has opened the ACC season on the highway in 4 of the final 5 seasons.
4. Not on this 12 months’s schedule: that post-Christmas/pre-New Year’s residence recreation that turns right into a sneakily scorching ticket as everybody residence for the vacations tries to make a Smith Center journey. Instead, Carolina will journey to Pitt on both Dec. 30 p. 31
5. We will not know for positive till the season performs out, however it seems as if the ACC schedule is difficult. There are three groups universally anticipated to be league contenders. The Tar Heels are one of them, of course, and so they have residence-and-residence matchups with the opposite two—Virginia and Duke. The Heels do not get a house recreation towards FSU (however they do not should play a highway recreation at Miami) and likewise do not get a return matchup for that December go to to Blacksburg.
6. The senior day showdown towards Duke can be epic. The mixture of a beloved senior class and an essential rivalry recreation towards a possible league contender on a Saturday ought to make for a particular afternoon or night within the Smith Center.
7. There will possible be some disappointment concerning the lack of marquee residence nonconference video games. That’s a mix of a brand new impartial website recreation (in Charlotte towards Michigan), this 12 months’s ACC/Big Ten Challenge recreation being on the highway, and the expanded ACC schedule consuming up some prime weekends which may ordinarily have hosted one of these video games. The solely weekend in December that the Tar Heels play at house is a contest towards Georgia Tech. Save your lungs, although. Those again-to-again Saturdays internet hosting Virginia and Duke to shut the house common season slate are prone to be essential, intense video games.
8. It’s unlucky for followers that basketball is following the pattern of soccer and releasing a schedule with out recreation instances. Expect these slots to be stuffed in over the following few weeks, however some will not arrive till we’re nicely into the season. It merely makes it arduous to plan for followers who would possibly solely have the ability to make one or two Chapel Hill journeys per season.
9. You’ll often hear Hubert Davis this preseason–including on Friday’s version of the Carolina Insider podcast, the place we’ll air an prolonged interview with him that you’re going to solely hear there–talk about wanting his group to look out the entrance windshield of the automobile moderately than within the rearview mirror. In different phrases, deal with what’s forward, not what they’ve already completed. But earlier than you formally flip that web page, a reminder that Together, the behind the scenes take a look at the 2021-22 season, can be launched subsequent month and is out there wherever you purchase books, together with right here and right here.
10. The most essential half of the schedule launch: it means we’re that a lot nearer to what needs to be a enjoyable season of Carolina Basketball. As a reminder, Live Action with Carolina Basketball can be held Sept. 30 within the Smith Center.