CHAPEL HILL Hey UNC fans, feel like planning an early November trip to New Orleans?
The North Carolina men’s basketball team will open the 2016-17 season in New Orleans against Tulane on Nov. 11, the school announced Wednesday afternoon along with the rest of the upcoming season’s non conference schedule.
Two days after facing Tulane, UNC will play its home opener against Chattanooga in the opening round of the Maui Invitational, followed by another home game against Long Beach State Nov. 15.
The Tar Heels, who fell to Villanova in the national championship game, will face at least five teams that played in the 2016 NCAA tournament, including a rematch of the Sweet 16 game when they travel to Indiana for the ACC/Big Ten challenge Nov. 30.
UNC could face even more NCAA tournament teams when it heads to Hawaii for the next rounds of the Maui Invitational Nov. 21-23 to play in a field that includes Chaminade, Connecticut, Georgetown, Oklahoma State and Oregon. It will be the Tar Heels’ first invitational appearance since the 2012-13 season.
Before playing in Maui, UNC will make the most of its island time with a stop in Honolulu to take on Hawaii Nov. 18.
When UNC returns stateside, it will play at Indiana. Then, the Tar Heels will host a slew of December games against Radford (Dec. 4), Davidson (Dec. 7), and Tennessee (Dec. 11) before playing in the third installment of the CBS Sports Classic.
The tournament, hosted this year in Las Vegas following stops in Chicago and Brooklyn the first two years, features UNC against Kentucky and Ohio State against UCLA in a doubleheader on Dec. 17.
The meeting between UNC and Kentucky is the 16th time the two programs have met since 2000.
Last season, Northern Iowa upset UNC in what was billed as then-injured Marcus Paige’s homecoming game, and this year the Tar Heels will host the Panthers Dec. 21.
A week later, UNC wraps up its non-conference schedule with a home game against Monmouth, coached by former UNC point guard King Rice.
UNC full non-conference schedule
Nov. 4 vs. UNC Pembroke (exhibition game in Chapel Hill)
Nov. 11 at Tulane (New Orleans, La.)
Nov. 13 vs. Chattanooga (Maui Jim Maui Invitational in Chapel Hill)
Nov. 15 vs. Long Beach State (Chapel Hill)
Nov. 18 at Hawaii (Honolulu, Hawaii)
Nov. 21-23 in Maui Jim Maui Invitational in Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii
Nov. 30 at Indiana (ACC/Big Ten Challenge in Bloomington, Ind.)
Dec. 4 vs. Radford (Chapel Hill)
Dec. 7 vs. Davidson (Chapel Hill)
Dec. 11 vs. Tennessee (Chapel Hill)
Dec. 17 vs. Kentucky (CBS Sports Classic in Las Vegas, Nev.)
Dec. 21 vs. Northern Iowa (Chapel Hill)
Dec. 28 vs. Monmouth (Chapel Hill)
NCAA basketball attendance numbers released, UNC leads in overall attendance
With a whopping 781,614 fans watching UNC play at home, on the road and at neutral sites, the Tar Heels led the nation in overall attendance according to numbers released by the NCAA earlier today.
Kentucky checked in second in overall attendance with 694,871 while Syracuse came in third with 682,039.
A national championship game run coupled with a fourth-highest home average attendance of 18,326 helped UNC hit the monster mark.
Two ACC programs, Syracuse and Louisville, averaged higher home attendance numbers than the Tar Heels.
As a conference, the ACC averaged 11,131 fans through 263 contests last season.
Former UNC athletes thriving in the pros
Running back Giovani Bernard, most often remembered for his game-winning touchdown against N.C. State, signed a three-year contract extension in Cincinnati worth $15.5 million.
Since being selected by the Bengals in the second round of the 2013 NFL draft, Bernard has amassed 2,105 yards on 492 carries, caught 148 passes for 1,335 yards and scored 17 total touchdowns.Top-10 "new money" APY among running backs for Gio Bernard. He'll make $6M+ in 2016. Deal up after 2019 season, when he'll be 28. Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) June 8, 2016
Meanwhile on the hardwood, Vince Carter was given the NBA’s Twyman-Stokes Award. The honor, voted on by NBA players, recognizes the best teammate for selfless play on and off the court.Carter received 126 1st- or 2nd-place votes from more than 300 NBA player ballots. No surprise, Marvin Williams also a finalist. #GoHeels Carolina Basketball (@UNC_Basketball) June 8, 2016
Twyman-Stokes Award honors Carter for leadership, mentoring & being role model to other players, commitment & dedication to team #GoHeels Carolina Basketball (@UNC_Basketball) June 8, 2016