The Owls have made a habit of getting a signature win to highlight their season in recent years.

Last season it was knocking off No. 10 Kansas 77-52 at the Wells Fargo Center. In 2012-13 it was downing No. 3 Syracuse 83-79 at Madison Square Garden. They even knocked off No. 5 Duke 78-73 back in 2011-12 as part of a terrific 24-8 season. 

They’ll get their shot this season in the very first game against No. 1 ranked North Carolina. The Owls caught somewhat of a break when Tar Heel senior Marcus Paige went down with a broken hand in practice a little over a week ago. Paige averaged 14.1 points and 4.5 assists per game last season and is on the ballot as a preseason All-American candidate.

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“Our team will certainly be challenged in his absence,” Tar Heels coach Roy Williams said. “We will need everyone up and down the roster to step up their games and take care of each other and our team until he gets back.”

Despite the injury, Fran Dunphy knows how good the team in front of him is. He’s putting in the extra preparation this week to have his team ready to go on Friday.

“It’s a tremendous challenge, these guys are really good,” Dunphy said of UNC at the team’s media day on Monday. “Tremendous challenge, but I think that’s what you want, it’s what the kids want, I think it’s what we advertise when we recruit, and so we’re playing the best.”