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After North Carolina’s second consecutive trip to the national title game resulted in the school’s sixth championship, the Tar Heels will have a much different look in 2017-18 but are still being pegged as one of the country’s best teams.
If you’re looking to watch the Heels this season, most of their games will be broadcast on the ESPN networks (ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU) and ACC Network, while two games are also scheduled for CBS. A complete schedule can be found here.
Fortunately for those who are without cable or simply would rather watch the games away from a TV, all of these channels can be watched online via your computer, your phone or another streaming device by signing up for one of the following cable-free, live-TV streaming services:
DirecTV Now: ESPN, ESPN2, ACC Network and CBS (live in select markets) are included in all four of the base channel packages, while ESPNU is included in the “Just Right” package and above. The cheapest bundle is $35 per month, and the cheapest with ESPNU is $50 per month, but you get a free 7-day trial when you sign up, allowing you to watch a game or two at no cost.
How to Watch: You can watch ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and CBS on your computer via DirecTV Now’s website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the DirecTV Now app. For games on ACC Network (or any of the ESPN networks), you can watch on your computer via WatchESPN.com, or on a streaming device via the WatchESPN app by signing in with your DirecTV Now credentials.
Sling TV: ESPN, ESPN2 and ACC Network are included in the “Sling Orange” base bundle at $20 per month, while ESPN U is part of the “Sports Extra” add-on for another $5 per month. CBS is not available via this service. Like the above option, this comes with a free 7-day trial if you’re just trying to watch one particular game this week at no cost.
How to Watch: You can watch ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU on your computer via Sling TV’s website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Sling TV app. For games on ACC Network (or any of the ESPN networks), you can watch on your computer via WatchESPN.com, or on a streaming device via the WatchESPN app by signing in with your Sling TV credentials.
CBS All Access: For the games that are being broadcast on CBS, your best option is likely going to be CBS All Access, which allows you to watch a live stream of your local CBS channel (most markets included) for $5.99 per month. It also comes with a free 7-day trial.
How to Watch: You can watch on your computer via CBS.com (under “Live TV” and “CBS (Local Station)”), or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the CBS app.
The Tar Heels have been at the top of the college basketball totem pole the last two years, just a Kris Jenkins buzzer-beater away from from being back-to-back national champions. This season, though, we’re going to see just how well Roy Williams can rebuild.
Gone from last year’s national championship-winning squad are Justin Jackson (No. 15 pick in the NBA draft), Tony Bradley (No. 28 pick), Kennedy Meeks (senior), Isaiah Hicks (senior) and Nate Britt (senior). And to make matters worse, Joel Berry, last year’s Most Outstanding Player at the Final Four and near AP preseason All-American, may be out until late November as he recovers from a broken hand.
Though the Heels are ranked No. 9 in the preseason, Williams is keeping expectations low.
“We’re so far behind from where we were the last two years that it’s scary at that point.” he said. “You’ve got to go as fast as they’ll allow you to go and as fast as they can learn the stuff. We’re much farther behind, we’re much slower right now than we’ve been in several years.”
The good news for Carolina is that even if the team starts slow, the talent is there for Williams to work with. Once healthy, Berry is one of the best point guards in the country. Theo Pinson and Luke Maye are both back after playing key roles during last year’s title run. Pitt transfer Cam Johnson buried 41.5 percent of his 5.7 three-point attempts last year and can thus help improve what is annually one of Carolina’s biggest weaknesses. True freshmen Jalek Felton and Garrison Brooks are good enough to contribute right away, while sophomore Seventh Woods is a candidate to take a leap forward after showing flashes last season.
Ultimately, the pieces are there. It just remains to be seen how Williams will put them together. Froncourt depth could be an issue, the team is likely to rely on youth a bit more than during the last couple years, and it’s unclear who will be the go-to scorer, especially while Berry is sidelined.
Nevertheless, even in a crowded ACC, the Tar Heels should once again be firmly in the mix.