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UNC’s basketball schedule will include a preseason game against this Division II team

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UNC basketball coach Roy Williams laughs about former player Deon Thompson's new tattoo of Williams cutting down the championship nets. Thompson played for the Tar Heels from 2006-10 and was on the 2009 national championship team.
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UNC basketball coach Roy Williams laughs about former player Deon Thompson's new tattoo of Williams cutting down the championship nets. Thompson played for the Tar Heels from 2006-10 and was on the 2009 national championship team.

North Carolina will play Division II Winston-Salem State in a preseason basketball game on Nov. 1, according to a contract obtained by The News & Observer in a public records request.

The game will be played at the Dean Smith Center in Chapel Hill and will be one of the Tar Heels’ two preseason matchups for the 2019-20 season.

“It means a lot that we’re playing one of our system schools,” WSSU interim athletic director George Knox said in a phone interview last week. “Even though we’re in a different division, it says a lot that we can schedule a game of that magnitude.”

Each year, UNC typically plays one preseason game against a smaller in-state school as a way to help that program financially. The Tar Heels also typically play a secret game scrimmage. Last season, UNC played Division II Mount Olive in the preseason, and Villanova in its secret game scrimmage.



UNC has agreed to pay WSSU $25,000 for its upcoming November game, according to the June 18 contract.

Last month, UNC released its 2019-20 non-conference schedule, which includes three in-state opponents -- Gardner-Webb, UNC-Wilmington and Elon -- but it did not include the preseason game.

The Tar Heels and Rams played an exhibition game before the 2004-05 season and won 113-54. The Tar Heels would go on to win the national championship that season.

UNC finished 29-7 last season and lost in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament to Auburn. The Tar Heels will have to replace the bulk of their scoring from last season after their top five scorers either left for the NBA or graduated.

UNC’s top returning scorer is 6-9, 230-pound junior forward Garrison Brooks, who averaged 7.9 points per game last season and 5.6 rebounds.

The Tar Heels will also add some new talent.

Cole Anthony, the top ranked point guard in the Class of 2019, is expected to replace Coby White, who left for the NBA. And Armando Bacot, a 6-10, 230-pound forward, who was also a McDonald’s All-American, should allow UNC coach Roy Williams to go back to his preferred style of play with two bigs in the post.

The Tar Heels also landed two graduate transfers in guards Christian Keeling, who averaged 18.7 points per game at Charleston Southern, and Justin Pierce, who averaged 14.9 points per game at William & Mary.

Winston-Salem State, a Division II school, finished 12-15 last season and was tied for ninth in the CIAA standings.

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