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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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    Tomorrow at 2:20 am on WRAL-TV

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7:00pm Tonight
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MIN 2
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BAL 0
TAM 0
 
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ANA 2
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6:05pm Friday
HOU 0
MIA 0
 
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KAN 5
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1:05pm Today
NYY
BAL
 
1:05pm Today
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BOS
 
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1:07pm Today
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1:10pm Today
NYM
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4:05pm Today
CIN
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4:05pm Today
MIL
CLE
 
4:05pm Today
CHC
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4:05pm Today
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4:05pm Today
TEX
SDP
 
4:05pm Today
SEA
SFG
 
4:10pm Today
ARI
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4:10pm Today
ANA
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Final
WAS 110
CHA 107
Final
ORL 97
DET 111
Final
PHI 98
LAC 119
Final
NYK 92
BOS 96
Final
BRK 106
CLE 98
Final
TOR 94
LAL 83
Final
ATL 99
MIA 86
Final
MEM 84
GSW 107
Final
HOU 120
MIN 110
Final
NOP 102
SAC 88
Final
SAN 94
DAL 76
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DEN 107
UTA 91
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PHO 81
POR 87
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
ATL
 
8:00pm Tonight
CHI
NYK
 
8:30pm Tonight
MIL
GSW
 
9:00pm Tonight
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OKC
 
10:00pm Tonight
POR
DEN
 
Final
GONZ 74
UCLA 62
Final
LOU 75
NCSU 65
Final
DUKE 63
UTAH 57
Final
NARZ 74
KSU 73
Final
OKLA 58
MSU 62
6:09pm Tonight
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7:30pm Tonight
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8:49pm Tonight
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12:30pm Today
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1:00pm Today
NYI
ANA
 
1:00pm Today
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1:00pm Today
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1:00pm Today
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2:00pm Today
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7:00pm Tonight
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7:00pm Tonight
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OTT
 
8:00pm Tonight
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8:00pm Tonight
MIN
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9:00pm Tonight
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BUF
 
10:00pm Tonight
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