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Williams 'hopeful' Berry plays vs. Arkansas

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

If Dusty Hannahs - the most consistent outside shooter - Jaylen Barford and Daryl Macon could get hot in the same game, and Moses Kingsley builds off his show against Seton Hall, and Dustin Thomas repeats his Friday performance, then all bets are off. The players spoke of toughness, heart and maturity when describing those final minutes, expressing an appreciation for the emotion of a game that transcended the basics of X's and O's. He exchanged glances with Kennedy Meeks.

The disparity potentially looms even larger against North Carolina. He still, in his fourth postseason, prefers the comfort of his hotel room when the team is on the road. The time of the game is yet to be determined.

So when Hicks started to talk, that got everyone's attention.

"This isn't it", Hicks said.

"When we came out of the three-minute time out, we just said 'this can't be it".

They knew they might not get that close to the national title again, but they expected to get a lot closer than this. "They're very aggressive and play very hard on the defensive end".

"We beat them two years ago in the tournament, so I know they'll remember that", Britt said, recalling a meeting in Jacksonville, Fla. It was actually about that simple. His team rallied from 30-13 down to take its first lead midway through the second half behind a "40 Minutes of Hell" familiar edge from the Nolan Richardson era. Toss in his 14.5 points per game and it's easy to see why the Tar Heels are one of the most offensive-efficient teams in the country with their 85.4 points per contest.

Meeks led UNC (29-7) with 16 points, 11 rebounds and three blocked shots and sparked an early run that saw the Tar Heels threaten to run away and hide early.

BERRY'S STATUS: UNC coach Roy Williams said he is "hopeful" that point guard Joel Berry II will be ready to play despite an ankle injury that kept him out of practice Saturday. Berry, stumbling, threw the ball at the rim. In 1995, Arkansas defeated North Carolina 75-68 at the Final Four.

Arkansas was left for dead at 17-7 after three losses in four games, including one to basement dweller Missouri. And these guys up here, they're young, but they have a will to win and play with courage and are skilled basketball players and great kids who share.

It was good timing for the ACC, too, which desperately needed to reverse its tournament momentum.

Since the NCAA Tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985, No. 1 seeds are 112-18 in second-round games, including 54-12 against No. 8 seeds - with Wisconsin's 65-62 victory over Villanova on Saturday - and 58-6 against No. 9 seeds. "Last year, we'd been in a few games like that where we had to grind it out at the end of the game and make plays for us to come out with a (win)".

Only five players can crack the starting lineup of our team, though, so let's take a look at who would take the court for this hypothetical all-North Carolina NBA squad.

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