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The Daily Tar Heel
From the Press Box

NCAA Update: Happy We're Here

Day 3 in Jacksonville!

The Daily Tar Heel NCAA crew — Senior Writer Aaron Dodson, Sports Editor Grace Raynor and Senior Photographer Halle Sinnott — is now getting set for the No. 4 seed North Carolina men's basketball team's Round of 32 matchup with fifth-seeded Arkansas on Saturday night at 8:40 p.m.

To be honest, we're just all happy to still be here. In the North Carolina locker room Thursday night and Friday afternoon after UNC's 67-65, nail-biter win over Harvard on Thursday, the phrase "sigh of a relief" was thrown around quite a bit.

For a while during the game, it looked like the Tar Heels would be packing their bags and heading home early, especially after Siyani Chamber's 4-point play with 1:15 left to go have the Crimson a 65-63 lead.

That shot was like a dagger in my heart. I thought the fun was over — that I'd have to leave sunny Florida and go back to the miserable like of a second-semester senior with about 50 days until graduation.

UNC held on. Survive and advance, I guess.

Disclaimer: These photos in which we were all cheesing hard as ever were taken before the Tar Heels blew a 16-point, second-half lead. Just sayin'.

With UNC set to take on Arkansas, this means one more day of Uber rides around Jacksonville with our team of world-class drivers. Last night, Alexei ushered us back to the safety of our hotel in his midnight black Volvo. 

"I have a Volvo Cross Country," Grace cheerfully told him.

"I drove across country in this car," Alexei replied.

I don't have any relatives in Jacksonville. That was the case until today. Now I have a Jacksonville grandma. Her name is Linda and she's the best Uber driver we've had so far. 

"What did he think I drive a rocket ship?" said Linda of an Uber customer that canceled a ride within two minutes of scheduling one.

Ms. Linda gave us some recommendations for places to eat near the beach, where we'll be spending the majority of our evening before resting up for UNC's Round of 32 game tomorrow.

Regardless of whether or not UNC wins, we'll be headed back to Chapel Hill on Sunday morning at 6 in the morning. BUT if the Tar Heels do win, then they'll be headed the Lost Angeles for the Sweet 16, and hopefully we will be too!

I just wanna take a stroll down Hollywood Blvd. and see some stars.

If the Tar Heels lose, you can probably blame this guy:

Sophomore Arkansas forward and SEC Player of the Year Bobby Portis 

Or blame the lack of focus in UNC's locker room on Friday:

Just kidding ...

Stay tuned for all your updates while the Tar Heels are here in Jacksonsville. Halle is taking some awesome pictures and Grace and I are trying to keep you as informed as possible! 

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