The Northern Kentucky Norse continue to slowly establish themselves in the Division I ranks of college basketball, but the North Carolina Tar Heels are trying to establish themselves among the elite teams in 2013-14.
With wins over the Michigan State Spartans, Louisville Cardinals and Kentucky Wildcats, they should already be firmly in the Top 10, but brow-raising losses to the Belmont Bruins, UAB Blazers and Texas Longhorns have them barely in the Top 25 of most major polls.
With the conference schedule set to begin for most college basketball teams in the next two weeks, this is the final chance for team's like Carolina to get their footing under them before facing the likes of Syracuse, Duke and other ACC foes.
When the Tar Heels were last in action, they needed overtime to overcome Davidson at home. Forward J.P. Tokoto led the way with 22 points, 11 rebounds and five steals, all career highs in helping the Heels avoid an embarrassing home loss.
NKU has won three in a row after a 72-65 home win over Navy on Saturday as they continue to improve after a 1-7 start.
The Norse have lost their last two contests against ranked opponents by an average of 28.5 points, including a 93-63 loss at No. 18 Kentucky on Nov. 10 in the opening week of the college basketball season.
The game will tip off on Friday, Dec. 27 at 7:00 p.m. ET at Chapel Hill on ESPNU.