Roles flipped for MSU/UNC this time

Last time two teams met, MSU was unranked with UNC in the top spot. This time around, MSU holds the nation's top ranking while the Tar Heels aren't ranked, bringing a different twist to Wednesday's game.

The last time Michigan State and North Carolina met, the Tar Heels checked in as the No. 1 team with Michigan State unranked.

This time, the roles are flipped. The Spartans sit as the nation's top team while the Tar Heels are unranked.

So surprising was that fact that MSU sophomore Gary Harris looked up astonished and said "They're not ranked?"

The 4-2 Tar Heels come to Breslin Center with a win against Louisville under their belt, but also with losses to a pair of unranked teams.

"They definitely have potential," Harris said. "They've got players just like we've got players. They are gonna come in ready to play especially with the No. 1 ranking, that gives teams an extra chip on their shoulder.

"They're definitely going to want to come on our home court and beat us."

UNC has been a tough matchup for the Spartans historically, holding an 11-3 advantage and winners of six in a row.

With the most recent loss coming in the inaugural Carrier Classic, it opened the careers of Branden Dawson and Travis Trice.

Trice said the Spartans aren't concerned with North Carolina's ranking – or lack thereof – and that it's a chance to get one back on the Tar Heels.

"I know coach (Tom Izzo) has talked and stressed how he owes them personally because they've knocked us out a couple times in the tournament," he said. "I know for my class that I'm in, we lost to them our first game of the year. We owe them and want to get back to them."

Senior guard Keith Appling said he isn't paying any attention to rankings for either team but more the talent that North Carolina has.

He also said despite the aura around the historic program, that doesn't have an impact on Wednesday's game.

"North Carolina is always going to be North Carolina at the end of the day," he said. "At the same time, that has nothing to do with the game on Wednesday.

"We feel like if we come in and do execute our game plan and do things the way we are supposed to do we should be able to come out with a win."

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