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Friday, November 25, 2011
Las Vegas Invitational: Semifinals primer

By Robbi Pickeral

The semifinals of the Las Vegas Invitational were set from the beginning: Southern California vs. UNLV, and North Carolina vs. South Carolina, no matter how they fared in two preliminary games apiece at their home arenas. The winners at Orleans Arena today will face off for the title Saturday; the losers will play a consolation game.

Some quick facts about today’s semifinals:

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
UNLV
Prediction: The Trojans beat Morgan State by 3 points in a preliminary round; the Rebels blew out the same opponent by 37. Thus, Dave Rice pushes his record to 6-0 tonight as UNLV’s first-year coach.

NORTH CAROLINA
SOUTH CAROLINA
Prediction: Losses at Elon and to Tennessee State have folks already questioning South Carolina coach Darrin Horn’s job security. Roy Williams, meanwhile, has his squad playing like the Final Four team it is expected to be. The Tar Heels advance to the title game.

Follow Robbi Pickeral on Twitter at @bylinerp.