CHAPEL HILL– The Christmas break is over for the No. 19 Carolina men’s basketball team as the Tar Heels get set to welcome the 4-7 Northern Kentucky Norse to the Dean Smith Center for a 7 p.m. tipoff Friday.

8-3 on the season, Carolina will step back onto the court for the first time since last Saturday, when the Tar Heels survived an overtime thriller against the Davidson Wildcats.

Head Coach Roy Williams will surely be looking for an easier contest against a Northern Kentucky team from the Atlantic Sun that has been struggling all year long, ranking 266th in the nation in points per game.

On the other hand, the Tar Heels have yet to play at the highest level against an unranked squad this season. Overall, Carolina ranks 44th in the country in points per game, averaging 80.2 points.

Sophomore guard Marcus Paige is the leading scorer for the Tar Heels with 19.4 points per game. And how will J.P. Tokoto follow up his career high point performance against Davidson?

One thing is for certain. Joel James will remain on the bench for the Northern Kentucky game as he continues to recuperate from his MCL injury. There is a possibility the sophomore big could return to action on New Year’s Eve when Carolina plays UNC-Wilmington.