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Top-ranked UNC faces Nevada in first post-holiday contest

Dec 27, 2007 - 2:38 PM Nevada (7-4) at No. 1 North Carolina (11-0) 7:00 pm EST

CHAPEL HILL, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Unbeaten through 11 games, top-ranked North Carolina is off to its best start since the 1997-98 squad started 17-0.

The Tar Heels will look for victory No. 12 on Thursday against Nevada.

North Carolina has won both of the previous two meetings, the last coming in the 1988-89 season.

Both teams will come into the game on four-day layoffs due to the holidays.

The Tar Heels had few problems on Saturday in a 105-70 rout of Cal Santa Barbara, while the Wolf Pack nearly let a 14-point advantage in the second half disappear before holding on for a 55-52 victory at Northern Iowa.

Junior Tyler Hansbrough continues to lead North Carolina in most offensive categories. The 6-9 Hansbrough is averaging 21.7 points and 9.7 rebounds. Sophomore guard Wayne Ellington is averaging 17.2 points, junior swingman Danny Green 13.1 and sophomore guard Ty Lawson 13.0 for the Tar Heels.

Hansbrough was also named the Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Week on Monday for the third time already this season.

Nevada, which has won five straight, is led offensively by 6-5 senior guard Marcelus Kemp at 19.1 points per game. JaVale McGee, a 7-foot sophomore forward, averages 12.9 points, 8.7 boards and 3.5 blocks.