This Friday, No. 1 seed North Carolina will head to the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament where a red-hot Auburn team waits for them in the Sweet 16.
The No. 5 seed Tigers have won 10 straight games including a decisive victory over No. 4 seed Kansas in the Round of 32 and a beat-down of No. 2 seed Tennessee in the SEC title game the week before.
At a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, head coach Roy Williams gave a status update for two UNC starters who had to exit the second round victory against No. 9 seed Washington.
Senior Kenny Williams and sophomore Garrison Brooks were both injured in the game and sent back to the locker room, though both returned against Washington.
Williams suffered what his coach called a hamstring strain, but appeared fully mobile when he returned to the court Sunday. The senior said he could still feel the effects of the injury Monday morning.
“I'm gonna be honest with you, Monday morning when I went to tie my shoes, it was a little tough,” Williams said.
His coach didn’t use him in Tuesday’s practice, but said that if the team were to play a game today, Williams would be on the court. Williams’ presence will be key, as he is regarded as North Carolina’s premier perimeter defender. Auburn’s effectiveness from beyond the arc this season has made the team one of the most efficient offensive teams in the country — alongside the Tar Heels. Both teams rank in the top 10 for adjusted offensive efficiency.
North Carolina has also had historic success from the 3-point line this season, but hasn’t kept pace from deep with an Auburn team known for scoring transition threes at an efficient clip.
“Three hundred and five threes (this season) ties our school record for makes in a season, that's pretty impressive,” Coach Williams said. “They've made 421. So 305 is not quite as impressive as it was.”