UNC Basketball: Players to Watch in UNLV vs. North Carolina

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IDecember 28, 2012

Dec 15, 2012 Chapel Hill, NC, USA. North Carolina Tar Heels forward James Michael McAdoo (43) attempts to dunk ahead of East Carolina Pirates guard Akeem Richmond (1) during the second half at the Dean E. Smith Center.  North Carolina won 93-87.  Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports
Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

The North Carolina Tar Heels host No. 20 UNLV on Saturday at Dean E. Smith Center in what should be an electric affair.

The Rebels are 11-1 this season, averaging 79.3 points per game (20th in the nation) while crashing the glass.

The Tar Heels are 9-3, with losses against Butler, Indiana and Texas. They are unranked after being ranked No. 11 in the AP poll in the preseason.

Here's a look at the players to watch on Saturday.


North Carolina

James Michael McAdoo, F

James Michael McAdoo may have been a lottery pick if he would have declared for the 2012 NBA draft, but he decided to stick around—and the Tar Heels are glad he did.

The sophomore is averaging a team-high 15.0 points and 8.3 rebounds this season, to go along with 1.7 steals. He's shooting 47 percent from the floor, scoring in double digits in 11 of 12 games.


Reggie Bullock, G/F

Reggie Bullock is averaging 13.1 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.5 steals this season, shooting 49 percent from the floor and 47 percent from downtown.

The junior has scored in double digits in his past five games. He posted 18 points, 13 rebounds, one steal and one block against Texas on Dec. 19, albeit in a loss.


P.J. Hairston, G

P.J. Hairston has been inconsistent this season, but the sophomore has the ability to light it up, evidenced by the seven games he scored in double digits. 

The former 5-star recruit is also coming off a 20-point, eight-rebound effort against McNeese State.



Anthony Bennett, F

What else can you say about freshman Anthony Bennett?

Bennett, a 5-star recruit in the 2012 class, is averaging 19.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.7 blocks this season while shooting 56 percent from the floor and 35 percent from downtown.

He ranks 27th in the country in scoring and he's shooting at a better percentage than the top 52 scorers in the nation.


Khem Birch, F

After a rough freshman season at Pittsburgh, Khem Birch transferred to UNLV and has played three games there this season.

The former 5-star recruit has played well in his last two games. He posted 11 points, nine rebounds, two steals and a block against Northern Iowa, then followed that up with 20 points, eight rebounds, three assists, six blocks and one steal against Canisius.

You have to wonder if Birch will find himself with the Rebels. A big game against North Carolina would garner him a lot of attention.


Anthony Marshall, G

Senior guard Anthony Marshall isn't known as a big-time scorer in college, but he's shooting 48 percent from the floor and 51 percent from downtown this season.

He has also directed the offense well, averaging 5.3 assists, and he's a dangerous defender with his quick hands (1.6 steals).


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