UNC Takes on Santa Barbara

The last time Tyler Hansbrough faced UC Santa Barbara, he notched his first collegiate double-double in just his third game at North Carolina. There would be plenty more to come.

When Hansbrough and the top-ranked Tar Heels host the Gauchos Saturday at the Smith Center, the preseason All-American will be looking for the 23rd double-double of his career.

Oddsmakers from Bodog have made North Carolina -22.5 point spread favorites (View College Basketball odds) for today’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 62% of bets for this game have been placed on North Carolina -22.5 (View College Basketball bet percentages).

On Nov. 25, 2005, Hansbrough had 15 points and 11 rebounds against UC Santa Barbara as North Carolina beat the Gauchos 83-66 in the schools' only meeting.

This season, as the Tar Heels have opened with 10 straight wins for the first time since 1997-98, Hansbrough already has six double-doubles, including one in each of the last five games.

He had 27 points and 11 rebounds in a 88-78 win over Nicholls State Wednesday, shooting 8-of-13 from the field and 11-of-14 from the free-throw line one game after suffering a concussion.

North Carolina also got 20 points from Wayne Ellington, but coach Roy Williams was not pleased with his team's effort in its first home game in 29 days and second game overall after a 12-day layoff for final exams.

"So much for the exams being over," Williams said. "I thought we played better when we were studying."

The 78 points were the second-most scored against the Tar Heels in a game this season, and Nicholls State made 14 3-pointers - a season high for a North Carolina opponent. The Tar Heels also squandered three 20-point leads in the second half as the game stayed close.

Williams said after the game that his aim during Thursday's practice would be "to see how many guys I can make throw up," and he apparently got his team's attention.

"We're going to come out strong Saturday, definitely," Ellington said. "We're going to come out with a lot more intensity and defensive pressure and do the things we're supposed to do."

They'll have to do it against a UC Santa Barbara (10-1) team that's off to its best 11-game start since beginning the 1988-89 season 11-0. The Gauchos - who suffered their only loss Nov. 11 to then-No. 23 Stanford - would match the best 12-game start in school history with a win over North Carolina.

Their current eight-game winning streak is their longest since they won 11 straight to start 1988-89.

UC Santa Barbara won 79-52 at Ball State on Wednesday, as forward Chris Devine and guard Alex Harris each scored 22 points. The 6-foot-8 Devine, an Alaska native, was 9-for-10 from the field.

Harris, who is averaging a team-high 23.4 points, is 13-for-19 (68.4 percent) from 3-point range over the last three games, leading the Gauchos to 63.5 percent shooting from beyond the arc during that span. Defensively, UC Santa Barbara hasn't allowed 70 points in a game since the season opener.

The last time the Gauchos played the nation's top-ranked team, they beat then-No. 1 UNLV 78-70 on Feb. 26, 1990, handing the eventual national champion Runnin' Rebels their last loss before a 45-game winning streak.

by: Staff Writers - Email Us

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