CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Isaiah Hicks remains day-to-day and his status for No. 10 North Carolina’s matchup at N.C. State on Wednesday is yet to be determined, Roy Williams said on his radio show on Monday night.
“Hopefully if he can go through the full practice tomorrow, he’ll be able to play Wednesday night,” Williams said. “If he cannot go through the full practice, he won’t.”
The senior forward, who strained his left hamstring in practice last week in a collision with junior point guard Joel Berry, sat out UNC’s 86-78 loss at Duke on Thursday. Without the 6-foot-9 big man in the lineup, the Tar Heels’ post advantage was diminished and they subsequently were outrebounded by the Blue Devils, 31-30.
UNC’s weekend break came at a good time, according to Williams, who cited the bye in the ACC schedule as a convenient interval for Hicks, who has been limited in practice, to heal without being forced to miss another game.
The Oxford, N.C. native is averaging 12.8 points and 5.6 rebounds on the season in 25 games.
Does the lack of continuity with your roster slow down your plans this year?
“We’ve only had our full team in two games this entire season. I mean Theo (Pinson) is extremely important to us, we lost Joel (Berry) for two games, Tony (Bradley) for two games, Luke (Maye) for three or four games, Theo for a bunch of games. That means we’ve only had them together for about two weeks of practice. That part has been difficult; we’d like to have the full compliment of all the guys. Most of the time it doesn’t happen that way. It’s bothered us, there’s no question about it but it’s a fact of life.”
An offensive drought at the end and some big plays from Duke allowed the Blue Devils to come out on top on Thursday.
“Yea, it was a very good basketball if you don’t care who wins, but I care who wins. We did some good things but down the stretch we didn’t play as well offensively, didn’t get some finishes on the defensive end… so I was not happy about the game, they were not happy, but at the same time they realized it was a big event. The good news is we got to play another game and they didn’t take anything away from us and if we had won they wouldn’t have awarded anything to us.”
Duke really seemed to get take advantage of the game from the 3-point line.
“They had nine more 3-pointers. We had more points on offensive rebounds, more points on the fast break, more points off turnovers but the bottom line is they made nine threes and I think we made four. It’s not enough. We need to do a better job of keeping the ball under control and being able to get to the 3-point shot. They made some nice plays and Grayson (Allen) shot it really deep, and Jayson Tatum was really big in the second half… and Luke Kennard is having as good a year as anyone in college basketball.”
The NCAA Tournament committee released the top 16 seeds for the NCAA Tournament as they stood at the time on Saturday. UNC was the top No. 2 seed and was placed in the South Region. Any reaction to that?
“For football I thought it added a lot of excitement – they were only picking four teams. I thought it was really good the way they did it. I’m not saying it was good or bad at the end or anything, I just thought the whole thing added some excitement. I don’t think we get the excitement from it in basketball because it’s 68 teams, and it’s going to change so much. I was so enthused about it that I forgot it was on. I happened to be in the locker room changing after practice and Eric Hoots came running in…. He says, ‘it’s the Selection Show,’ and I had forgotten all about it…. I just think it’s so early and there’s so many things that are going to change.”
What do you think of the NIT changing its rules to reset the shot clock to 20 seconds instead of 30 when it’s inbounded in the front court? They also have approved clearing teams’ total fouls after 10 minutes in each half.
“That’s a pretty significant change because I wouldn’t mind us going to four quarters. One of the reasons for me liking that is that I don’t think people want to see a free throw contest. Now if you reset after 10…. I sort of like that one.”
What did you think of Seventh Woods’s performance last week?
“That was probably the best game he’s played all year. I think he’s slowly, slowly getting better. His stats handling the basketball is a lot better in conference play than it is overall. The ball still hasn’t gone in the basket on his shots, but the one way to stay in the game is to not turn the daggum ball over and to stay in front of the ball… From the offensive standpoint, his assist-to-error ratio is much better in conference play. He did some nice things.”
What did you see out of Luke Maye in his first career start?
“Luke made his shots and that’s what we need him to do. I wanted him to rebound the ball a lot better. He has a knack for rebounding and only had two rebounds in the whole game. Defensively it was a tough matchup because he’s matchup up against Jayson Tatum a lot and he’s playing the four spot but he really is a perimeter player. I thought Luke was okay, he wasn’t great, but I definitely don’t think he was bad.”