After months of anticipating who its opponent would be at the 2012 EA SPORTS Maui Invitational, Mississippi State learned on Thursday afternoon it would meet perennial power North Carolina in the opening round on Nov. 19.
Tip at the Lahaina Civic Center is slated for 5 p.m. CT, and the game will be televised on ESPN2. The following day, MSU will battle Butler or Marquette at 1:30 or 7 p.m., also on ESPN2. The highly-touted event concludes on Nov. 21.
Also participating are Southern Cal, Illinois, Texas and Chaminade.
"This is a great opportunity for our guys to play against a storied college basketball program," first-year MSU coach Rick Ray said. "Obviously, having spent three years as an assistant at Clemson, I became quite familiar with North Carolina. Coach (Roy) Williams always has a talented group that is always well prepared. I know our players are excited about this challenge."
The Bulldogs and Tar Heels have met just five times, with UNC winning on each occasion. The last meeting between the two came in the second round of the 2010 NIT in Starkville, with North Carolina rallying from 12 down to claim a 76-74 win on a layup with three seconds to play.
All-time, the Bulldogs are 30-42 against ACC foes. The last ACC team MSU faced was Virginia Tech in 2010, with the Hokies winning 88-57 at the Battle of Atlantis in the Bahamas.
Mississippi State will announce the remainder of its non-conference schedule next week.