College Basketball

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(20) UNLV (11-1) at North Carolina (9-3)



Saturday, December 29, 2 p.m. (et)

The Sports Network

By Scott Haynes, College Basketball Senior Editor

FACTS & STATS: Site: Dean E. Smith Center (21,750) -- Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Television: ESPN2. Home Record: UNLV 8-1, UNC 6-0. Away Record: UNLV 3-0, UNC 1-2. Neutral Record: UNLV 0-0, UNC 2-1. Conference Record: UNLV 0-0, UNC 0-0. Series Record: North Carolina leads, 3-1.

GAME NOTES: An intriguing matchup is on tap in Chapel Hill on Saturday afternoon, as the 20th-ranked UNLV Runnin' Rebels put a nine-game win streak on the line as they take on the North Carolina Tar Heels at the Smith Center.

Dave Rice's second season in Sin City has gotten off to a strong start. The Rebels have won 11 of their first 12 games, with the lone loss coming on Nov. 23 against Oregon, 83-79. UNLV was most recently in action a week ago against Canisius, topping the Golden Griffins, 89-74.

Roy Williams' Tar Heels are a flawless 6-0 at home this year, thanks to a 97-63 rout of McNeese State last time out. With the win, North Carolina moved to 9-3 overall. This contest will close out UNC's 2012 calendar year. The team will open up ACC play after the New Year at Virginia.

This is the fifth meeting between these two teams. UNC has won three of the previous four matchups, but UNLV finally found its way into the win column with last year's 90-80 victory in the Las Vegas Invitational.

UNLV really found its stroke offensively against Canisius, converting 59.6 percent from the field, including a scorching 64 percent in the first half, cruising to a 15-point win over the Golden Griffins. Five Rebels finished in double figures, led by Anthony Bennett's 21 points. Khem Birch was instrumental in the win, pouring in 20 points off the bench. Katin Reinhardt added 14 points, while Justin Hawkins and Bryce Dejean-Jones chipped in with 12 points each.

A potent team with plenty of scoring depth, UNLV is averaging 79.2 ppg this year, on a healthy .453 shooting. The team lost Mike Moser (10.9 ppg, 8.3 rpg) to a dislocated elbow in early December, but others have been able to assuage the loss. Bennett has dominated up front despite being just a freshman. The youngster is shooting .557 from the floor and leads the team in both scoring (19.5 ppg) and rebounding (8.5 rpg). Birch (11.7 ppg, 6.7 rpg) has played in just three games, but has also made an immediate impact. Anthony Marshall (10.3 ppg, 5.3 apg) is both a scorer and deft distributor, while Reinhardt (10.0 ppg) provides another offensive threat.

Behind 54.1 percent shooting in the first half, including eight 3-pointers, North Carolina jumped out to a huge lead over McNeese State at the break (54-23) and never looked back. Five Tar Heels notched double digits in a balanced outing, led by P.J. Hairston's 20 points. Reggie Bullock added 17 points to the cause, followed by James Michael McAdoo (12 pts), Leslie McDonald (11 pts) and Brice Johnson (10 pts).

Despite a modest record in Tar Heel country, UNC remains one of the nation's most dangerous offensive squads. The team ranks third nationally in scoring at 84.0 ppg. North Carolina has also played well defensively for the most part, limiting foes to 69.7 ppg and under 40 percent shooting (.381). James Michael McAdoo may become UNC's next star. The sophomore has had some consistency issues thus far, but still leads UNC in both scoring (15.0 ppg) and rebounding (8.3 rpg). Bullock (13.1 ppg) and Hairston (12.2 ppg) round out the top scoring threats on the roster. Depth is found in the form of McDonald (9.4 ppg), Dexter Strickland (8.8 ppg) and Johnson (8.7 ppg).

The Tar Heels have played much better at home than on the road this season, but will be taken to task by a UNLV squad with plenty of scoring power to match whatever McAdoo and company throw out there.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: UNLV 77, North Carolina 74

12/29 10:40:46 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
STJ 68
DUKE 77
Final
NCSU 78
ND 81
7:00pm Tonight
NCCU
DELST
 
7:00pm Tonight
UNC
SYR
 
Final
CHI 84
MIA 96
Final
CLE 108
OKC 98
Final
NOP 109
DAL 106
Final
ORL 99
IND 106
Final
PHO 100
LAC 120
Final
ATL 112
MIN 100
Final
TOR 114
DET 110
Final
SAN 101
MIL 95
Final
GSW 114
BOS 111
Final
DEN 115
WAS 117
Final
LAL 87
HOU 99
7:30pm Tonight
BRK
POR
 
7:30pm Tonight
NYK
SAC
 
8:00pm Tonight
OKC
MIN
 
8:00pm Tonight
MEM
ORL
 
8:00pm Tonight
NOP
PHI
 
9:00pm Tonight
UTA
BOS
 
10:30pm Tonight
LAC
DEN
 
Final
UCONN 66
SFLA 53
Final
GT 62
BC 64
Final
VT 47
UVA 50
Final
OSU 82
IND 70
Final
UCF 46
CIN 56
Final
WICHS 74
DRAK 40
Final
STJ 68
DUKE 77
Final
MAR 73
FAIR 67
 
Final
HART 61
MAINE 70
 
Final
MAN 71
MON 64
 
Final
PRIN 96
ROWAN 48
 
Final
SIENA 55
PETE 69
 
Final
RIU 53
BONA 48
Final
BING 54
USB 61
 
Final
MLOWELL 50
VERM 61
 
Final
BUT 77
SHU 57
Final
SALA 55
YALE 72
 
Final
PITT 68
LOU 80
Final
ILLST 53
NIOWA 54
Final
GTDNS 69
UMBC 55
 
Final
IONA 87
NIAG 64
 
Final
TENST 55
BEL 63
 
Final
NCSU 78
ND 81
Final
VILL 71
CREI 50
Final
MD 68
NW 67
Final
UTAH 77
WASH 56
7:00pm Tonight
AMER
ARMY
 
7:00pm Tonight
OU
CLST
 
7:00pm Tonight
NCCU
DELST
 
7:00pm Tonight
PBY
HIGH
 
7:00pm Tonight
UNC
SYR
 
7:00pm Tonight
DET
WRST
 
7:30pm Tonight
NCAT
COPST
 
7:30pm Tonight
SCST
HAMP
 
7:30pm Tonight
COOK
HOW
 
7:30pm Tonight
NWST
NICST
 
8:00pm Tonight
NO
CARK
 
8:00pm Tonight
CAMP
GWEBB
 
8:00pm Tonight
FAM
MDES
 
8:00pm Tonight
INCWORD
MCNST
 
8:00pm Tonight
SAV
NORST
 
8:00pm Tonight
ABCHRIST
SHSU
 
8:00pm Tonight
LAM
STEPH
 
8:00pm Tonight
SELA
TAMCC
 
8:05pm Tonight
VALPO
UWMIL
 
8:30pm Tonight
ALAAM
ALCOR
 
8:30pm Tonight
ALAST
SOUTH
 
9:00pm Tonight
ARKPB
PVU
 
9:00pm Tonight
ISU
TEX
 
9:00pm Tonight
MVSU
TXSOU
 
Final
TEAMFOLI 12
TEAMTOEWS 17
Final
CARTER 28
IRVIN 32