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Saturday NCAA basketball: No. 5 North Carolina at No. 1 Kentucky

UNC vs. Kentucky Showdown 2011North Carolina and Kentucky, two of the most storied programs in NCAA basketball history and the two favorites to win the national championship in New Orleans come April, meet on Saturday afternoon in what could be the game of the regular season. The Cats, who have never lost in 37 games at home under Coach John Calipari, opened as slight college basketball bets favorites on WagerWeb.com.

The Heels (6-1), who bring back all five starters from last season, opened the season at No. 1 but fell to No. 5 after a 90-80 loss against UNLV last weekend. UNC then had some trouble with No. 7 Wisconsin on Wednesday, winning by three but scoring its fewest points of the season (60).

UNC freshman guard P.J. Hairston suffered a sprained left wrist and bone contusion in the win over the Badgers. Hairston is questionable for Saturday’s game but not expected to play. Hairston is Carolina’s fifth-leading scorer (8.3 ppg) and leads the Tar Heels with 14 three-point goals. He scored a season-high 19 points against South Carolina and 15 against UNLV and was named to the Las Vegas Invitational All-Tournament Team.

Kentucky (7-0) will carry the nation’s No. 1 ranking into Saturday’s game with Carolina, On Thursday night in Rupp Arena, the Cats played with the top-ranking for the first time this season and handled it fine, downing St. John’s 81-59.

Anthony Davis, UK’s unbelievable freshman, flirted with the second triple-double in school history before “settling” for 15 points, 15 rebounds and eight blocked shots. Terrence Jones overpowered the smaller Red Storm front line for 26 points and nine rebounds.

There could be a dozen future NBA players combined on these two rosters. UK’s Davis or UNC’s Harrison Barnes is likely to go No. 1 in next year’s draft. The Heels and Cats met twice last season, with UNC winning a close one at home during the regular season but losing to UK in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament. Carolina hasn’t played a No. 1 team since winning at Duke in 2006. UK is in its 90th week all-time at No. 1 — fourth all-time behind UCLA (134), Duke (122) and North Carolina (108).

Sportsbook Advisor take: You give me UNC with their talent level getting point anywhere and I am on them like stink on the trud.  Take UNC.

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Saturday, December 3rd, 2011 2011-previews-picks, College Basketball Betting

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