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Surging North Carolina visits N.C. State

Feb 3, 2007 - 4:40 PM No. 3 North Carolina (20-2) at N.C. State (12-8) 3:30 pm EST

RALEIGH, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Thanks in part to Tyler Hansbrough's play, North Carolina has assumed a place among the nation's elite teams.

The third-ranked Tar Heels look for their sixth consecutive victory to remain on top of the Atlantic Coast Conference standings Saturday when they visit North Carolina State.

North Carolina has defeated its last five opponents by an average of 27.0 points to move into first place in the conference race, one-half game in ahead of Boston College, Virginia Tech and Virginia.

Hansbrough, last season's ACC Rookie of the Year, leads the team in scoring (18.4), rebounds (8.2) and needs eight points to become the 59th player in school - and sixth fastest - to score 1,000 points.

The Tar Heels continued their recent surge by tying a season high in points with Wednesday's 105-64 rout of Miami.

Hansbrough scored 22 points and grabbed 13 rebounds and Wayne Ellington added 14 points for North Carolina, which shot 56 percent (36-of-64) from the floor.

The Wolfpack have dropped four of their last six and are just 2-5 in the ACC, four games behind North Carolina.

N.C. State is coming off Wednesday's 70-59 victory over Virginia Tech. Ben McCauley scored 20 points and Gavin Grant had 16 with 10 rebounds for the Wolfpack.

North Carolina has won the last six meetings against their intrastate rival and eight of the past 10 matchups here.