North Carolina (5-0) vs. UNLV (6-0)
Las Vegas, Nev. -- Orleans Arena
10:30pm -- ESPN2 (Jon Sciambi, Jay Bilas)
“It is a challenge. It’s in their city. It’s not in their backyard, it’s in their city. They’re 6-0. Playing Southern California is not easy. They work the clock and you’ve got to play defense for a long time… I like [UNLV head coach Dave Rice’s] club.” – UNC head coach Roy Williams
“ I know that if we play [Saturday] night like we played [on Friday], we are not going to win this game, so we have to play better.” – Williams
Season to Date: UNLV enters Saturday’s contest with a 6-0 record. The Runnin’ Rebels have beaten Grand Canyon (83-66), Nevada (71-67), Canisius (95-70), Morgan State (92-55), Cal Poly (75-52) and Southern Cal (66-55). UNLV pulled away from the Trojans in the second half despite being outshoot from the field (52 percent vs. 41 percent).
Money Man: Mike Moser enrolled at UCLA as the No. 7-ranked small forward in the country out of Portland, Ore., but decided to transfer after averaging less than five minutes per game. The 6-foot-8, 210-pounder sat out last season due to NCAA transfer rules and has emerged as a game-changer for UNLV this year. Moser leads the team in scoring with 15.0 points per game and ranks third nationally in rebounding (13.0). If that’s not enough, he also entered Friday night’s game against USC fourth nationally in steals with 3.8 per outing.
Returning Experience: UNLV brought back eight letterwinners, including four starters, from the ’10-’11 squad that finished with a 24-9 (11-5 Mountain West) record and earned an invitation to the NCAA Tournament. Senior guard Oscar Bellfield (12.5 ppg) and senior forward Chace Stanback (11.4 ppg, 5.0 rpg) were both named to the preseason All-MWC team after earning third-team honors last season. In all, the Runnin’ Rebels returned 76.5 percent of their scoring and 70.9 percent of their rebounding. The lone starter lost to graduation was Tre’Von Willis, a second-team All-MWC selection.
Balanced Scoring: Joining Moser, Stanback and Bellfield in double-digit scoring is sixth-man guard Justin Hawkins (12.3 ppg). Junior guard Anthony Marshall (9.2 ppg, 6.8 rpg) represents the fifth Runnin’ Rebel to average more than nine points a game.
New Coach on the Bench: Rice returned home to UNLV during the offseason a full 21 years removed from playing for Jerry Tarkanian’s national championship team in Vegas in 1990. After earning his bachelor’s degree in 1991, Rice served as an assistant coach for 11 years until 2004. He joined the BYU staff in 2005 before accepting the UNLV job.
Stats of Note: UNLV has 63 steals on the season, good for 10.5 per game. Moser, Hawkins and Marshall have each accounted for 10 or more steals through six games. The Runnin’ Rebels have also blocked 39 shots, eight more than UNC. Five different players have five or more swats to their credit.
Random Fact of the Day: UNLV has won 17 straight games in November.
Last Meeting: The second-ranked Tar Heels defeated UNLV, 102-78, on Dec. 4, 1999, in the Food Lion Classic in Charlotte, N.C.
Series History: North Carolina leads the all-time series with UNLV, 3-0. Roy Williams was also 3-0 against the Runnin’ Rebels during his time at Kansas.
0 Oscar Bellfield (6-2, 190, Sr.) – 12.5 ppg, 4.7 apg
3 Anthony Marshall (6-3, 200, Jr.) – 9.2 ppg, 6.8 rpg
22 Chace Stanback (6-8, 215, Sr.) – 11.4 ppg, 5.0 rpg
43 Mike Moser (6-8, 210, So.) – 15.0 ppg, 13.0 rpg, 3.2 spg
12 Brice Massamba (6-10, 245, Sr.) – 6.3 ppg, 4.2 rpg
31 Justin Hawkins (6-3, 190, Jr.) - 12.3 ppg, 2.5 spg
11 Carlos Lopez (6-11, 215, So.) – 6.0 ppg, 2.6 rpg
2 Kendall Wallace (6-4, 195, Sr.) - 5.5 ppg
1 Quintrell Thomas (6-8, 245, Jr.) – 5.3 ppg, 4.0 rpg
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