The Tar Heels went 36-3 last year, winning the Atlantic Coast Conference regular season and Tournament championships and reached the Final Four by sweeping the NCAA East Regional. UNC returns all five starters and its top six scorers from a year ago, led by National Player of the Year Tyler Hansbrough.
All 32 scheduled games are televised, including at least 25 nationally televised games.
UNC plays at least nine games against teams that participated in the 2008 NCAA Tournament, including home games against Kentucky, Oral Roberts, Miami, Clemson and Duke, road games at Michigan State, Duke and Miami and at least one and possibly two neutral site games in Maui.
The Tar Heels return to Hawaii for the EA Sports Maui Invitational on November 24-26. UNC won the event in 1999-2000 and 2004-05 and plays host school Chaminade in the opening round, either Alabama or Oregon on day two and either Indiana, Notre Dame, St. Joseph's or Texas on the final day.
Michigan State plays host to Carolina in the 10th annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge. This is the third time these teams have met in the Challenge - the Spartans beat UNC in Chapel Hill in 1999-2000 and in East Lansing, Mich., in 2000-01. Carolina has won the last two games against Michigan State - in the 2004-05 Final Four in St. Louis and the 2007 NCAA second round in Winston-Salem, N.C.
Carolina and Kentucky, the two winningest teams in college basketball history, play one another for the ninth consecutive year. The Tar Heels have won the last four games against the Wildcats and hold a 20-10 lead in the series. Kentucky (1,966 wins) is 16 wins ahead of the Tar Heels all-time.
UNC plays hosts to seven non-ACC games at the Smith Center, including Penn, Kentucky, UNC Asheville, Oral Roberts, Evansville, Rutgers and College of Charleston. The Tar Heels play non-conference road games at UC Santa Barbara, Michigan State and Nevada (on New Year's Eve) and neutral site games in Maui and against Valparaiso in Chicago.
Carolina's ACC home-and-away opponents include Duke, Maryland, Miami, NC State and Virginia. The Tar Heels only play Boston College, Clemson and Georgia Tech at the Smith Center and travel to Florida State, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest for single games.
Late Night with Roy Williams is Friday, October 24. UNC plays one exhibition game, against UNC Pembroke on Saturday, November 8. The time for that exhibition is to be determined (there is a home football game that Saturday against Georgia Tech on Homecoming).