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North Carolina, Tennessee face off in NIT third-place game

Nov 24, 2006 - 3:09 PM No. 21 Tennessee (4-1) at No. 2 North Carolina (3-1) 4:30 pm EST

CHAPEL HILL, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Tennessee and North Carolina are playing each other in the NIT Season Tip-Off. But not in the championship game.

The 21st-ranked Volunteers will take on the second-ranked Tar Heels in the third-place game of the early-season tournament at Madison Square Garden.

Both Tennessee and North Carolina were upset in the semifinals by mid-major squads, who have a knack for playing well against big-name programs.

The Vols dropped a low-scoring 56-44 decision to Butler. JaJuan Smith scored 16 points for Tennessee, which was playing at the Garden for the first time since the 1985 postseason NIT tournament.

Smith was the only double-figure scorer for the Vols, who have been extremely sloppy with the ball on the early season. Tennessee is averaging over 20 turnovers a game and has committed 70 in its first three NIT contests.

Freshman Ty Lawson and Bobby Frasor both scored 11 points for North Carolina, which shot just 37 percent (25-of-68), including 6-of-27 on 3-pointers in a 82-74 loss to Gonzaga. Two-time winners of the preseason NIT, the Tar Heels absorbed just its third loss in 19 games in this event.

North Carolina has dominated the all-time series 7-1, including the last two games between the squads.

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