North Carolina (9-3) vs. UNLV (11-1)
Chapel Hill, N.C. -- Dean E. Smith Center
Saturday, 2 p.m.
ESPN2 (Jon Sciambi, Jay Bilas)
"We have tremendous respect for UNC. What is relevant to us is that they are 6-0 at home, have a Hall of Fame coach, terrific players and a storied tradition. We will be ready to play. Our guys understand what a huge challenge this is for us.'' – UNLV head coach Dave Rice
“He’s worked hard with his rehab and we’ll just see. He’s day-to-day. He’s got a ways to go to be in game shape. It’s important for him to get some confidence in there, that it’s not something he’s going to reinjure.” – Rice on injured forward Mike Moser
Season to Date: No. 20 UNLV enters Saturday’s contest with an 11-1 record. The Runnin’ Rebels have won nine straight since dropping a 83-79 decision to Oregon (10-2) in the Global Sports Classic on Nov. 23. Second-year head coach Dave Rice’s team committed 18 turnovers and shot 35.8 percent from the floor in losing to the Ducks.
Bennett Breaking Out: Anthony Bennett has been nothing short of dominant for the Runnin’ Rebels during his first 12 collegiate contests. The freshman forward is averaging 19.5 points and 8.5 rebounds, while also blocking 20 shots on the season. The 6-foot-8, 240-pounder has scored 20 points or more seven times, including a 25-point, 13-rebound effort at California on Dec. 9. The McDonald’s All-American is shooting 55.7 percent from the floor.
Moser Doubtful: Standout junior forward Mike Moser returned to practice on Wednesday after dislocating his elbow on Dec. 9. The Portland, Ore. native averaged 10.9 points and 8.3 rebounds through seven games after posting 14.0 points and 10.5 rebounds during his sophomore season. Rice hasn’t ruled Moser out for Saturday’s game, but told reporters a more likely return date would be next week against either Chicago State or Cal State Bakersfield.
Solid Guard Play: While UNLV’s frontcourt has earned the bulk of the headlines this season, senior Anthony Marshall (10.3 ppg) and freshman Katin Reinhardt (10.0 ppg) have managed to combine youth and experience into effective play in the backcourt. The duo has combined for a 99:51 assist-turnover ratio through 12 games this season.
Strength on Defense: Opponents are shooting just 37.1 percent (20th nationally) against the Runnin’ Rebels, including 28.6 percent from long range (38th). UNLV has held six opponents under 35 percent this season and only one team (California) has shot better than 45 percent.
Random Fact of the Day: UNLV holds the NCAA record for most consecutive games with a 3-pointer. The Runnin’ Rebels have made a 3-pointer in all of their 852 games played since the 3-point line was adopted in 1986-87.
Last Meeting: The Runnin’ Rebels upset the top-ranked Tar Heels, 90-80, in the Las Vegas Invitational championship game in Las Vegas on Nov. 26, 2011. UNLV overcame a four-point halftime deficit with a 14-0 spurt to open the second half and outrebounded UNC, 48-39. Harrison Barnes and P.J. Hairston led North Carolina with 15 points each.
Series History: North Carolina leads the overall series with UNLV, 3-1. Saturday marks the first on-campus meeting between these two programs.
3 Anthony Marshall (6-3, 200, Sr.) - 10.3 ppg, 5.3 apg
5 Katin Reinhardt (6-5, 210, Fr.) - 10.0 ppg, 3.0 apg
13 Bryce Dejean-Jones (6-5, 200, So.) - 8.8 ppg, 4.2 rpg
15 Anthony Bennett (6-8, 240, Fr.) - 19.5 ppg, 8.5 rpg
1 Quintrell Thomas (6-8, 245, Sr.) - 4.9 ppg, 4.8 rpg
2 Khem Birch (6-9, 220, So.) - 11.7 ppg, 6.7 rpg
31 Justin Hawkins (6-3, 190, Sr.) - 8.3 ppg, 3.6 rpg
0 Savon Goodman (6-6, 210, Fr.) - 4.9 ppg, 3.3 rpg
11 Carlos Lopez-Sosa (6-11, 225, Jr.) - 2.5 ppg, 1.4 rpg
Roster & Bios
(Photos by USA Today Sports)