MIAMI (AP) - Isiah Thomas' coaching debut at FIU just got a little tougher.
FIU's first season under the Hall of Fame player will begin Nov. 9 at defending national champion North Carolina, part of a Coaches vs. Cancer tournament. It's also the opener for the Tar Heels, according to the schedule released Tuesday by the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Earlier drafts of FIU's schedule indicated the Golden Panthers would open at Ohio State on that date, a trip that would have taken Thomas - the former Indiana star - back to his Big 10 playing roots.
FIU hired Thomas, the former New York Knicks coach and president, on April 15 and gave him a five-year contract.