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UNC's Roy Williams 'hopeful' Joel Berry II available for Arkansas game

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2017 NCAA Tournament: Bold Predictions For No. 1 North Carolina Vs. No. 4 Butler [Opinion]

North Carolina is also 6-2-1 ATS in their last nine games overall, and 18-7-1 ATS in their last 26 versus the SEC. The Razorbacks played before UNC, so many Tar Heel fans got a chance to get a look at their future opponent. Berry, UNC's starting point guard and second-leading scorer, returned to the court with 11:45 remaining.

GREENVILLE, S.C. - Sindarius Thornwell had 29 points and 11 rebounds to help seventh-seeded SC win its first NCAA Tournament game in 44 years, a 93-73 victory over Marquette to close first-round play in the East Region on Friday night.

The only concern was junior point guard Joel Berry II making just 1-of-8 shots from the field, and rolling his right ankle.

The game was still tied at 50 as late as the 14-minute mark of the second half before Marcus Paige got hot from the perimeter to help the Tar Heels pull away.

Most teams don't try to run with the Tar Heels, often sending multiple players back to slow transition attempts instead of crashing the boards.

Arkansas coach Mike Anderson understands the coming challenge.

"Yeah, my guess is it will stiffen up a bit", Williams said.

Arkansas goes into this game as an underdog, which shouldn't shock anyone. "I'm not 100 percent, but I'm getting close". Arkansas had opportunities in the first half to extend their largest lead but let Seton Hall linger around, after only scoring two points on seven first-half turnovers by the Pirates. The Razorbacks are ranked 133rd and 123rd, respectively.

"It's huge to learn the tendencies quickly", North Carolina wing Theo Pinson said.

"But when you play in this tournament, you're going to play tremendous teams..."

Berry said Saturday his ankle felt better. Coach Steve Alford said he expects Ball to be near 100 percent Sunday. The last three times Arkansas has made the NCAA tournament, it has faced UNC in the second round. Could the roles be reversed Sunday?

With the win, Arkansas moves to 20-11 all-time in NCAA Tournament openers and extends its streak of opening round wins to three.

Ryan (2-0) picked up the win, as the senior recorded a strikeout with two runners on in the 11th and then pitched a ideal 12th in the victory. "He's definitely a great defensive player, one of the best I've played against in a while", Meeks said, effusing praise for Arkansas senior center Moses Kingsley. "They've got quite a sense of humor, then, don't they - those guys in that room?" This was North Carolina's 163rd NCAA Tournament game, but its first in the state of SC. It fell behind 10-4 before Nate Britt came off the bench to provide an unexpected lift by contributing eight points, a rebound, a steal and an assists in a four-minute stretch to get his team going.

For the point guard, the decision to opt out of the play was because he didn't want to push it, but he insists he was able to sprint back on defense if the game had required it.

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