CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) — The Tar Heels men’s basketball team will have a huge test early in the season.
On Dec. 5, UNC will face defending national champion UConn at Madison Square Garden in New York City in the second game of the 2023 Jimmy V Classic. The yearly event is named in honor of former N.C. State coach Jim Valvano, who died of cancer 30 years ago, and raises money and awareness for the V Foundation for Cancer Research.
The game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN. Illinois and Florida Atlantic, who made the Final Four for the first time ever this past spring, will play in the first game of the doubleheader.
It will be the second year in a row the Tar Heels play in “The World’s Most Famous Arena” after they defeated Ohio State in overtime in the 2022 CBS Sports Classic.
“It’s a great opportunity to play the defending national champions and return to Madison Square Garden, a special place that has meant a lot to me,” North Carolina head coach Hubert Davis, who was drafted by and played for the New York Knicks, said in a statement. “It should be a great night to celebrate Coach Valvano and college basketball.”
The Connecticut Huskies won the 2023 National Championship after defeating San Diego State in April in Houston. The matchup will be Carolina’s first game against a defending champion since they beat Baylor in a thrilling overtime game in the second round of the 2022 NCAA Tournament.
Both UNC and UConn were in Portland last season for the 2022 Phil Knight Invitational tournament, but did not play each other. The Huskies ended up winning that tournament by defeating Iowa State. Carolina lost the third-place game to Alabama after five overtimes.
The two storied programs, which have a combined 11 national championships, last played each other during the 2004-05 season, when the Tar Heels beat the Huskies in Hartford, CT. They have faced off a total of six times so far, with UNC leading the all-time series 5-1.
Carolina has played in the Jimmy V Classic twice, defeating Massachusetts in 1996 and losing to Indiana in 1999. Rival Duke has the most wins in the event with four, including winning the 2022 event.
Tickets for the 2023 Jimmy V Classic will go on sale in the fall. Fans can sign up for presale at jimmyvclassic.com to get priority and access to the best seats.