North Carolina senior forward Isaiah Hicks did not play at Duke last Thursday night after suffering a hamstring injury in practice the day before that game. Now his status remains in doubt, too, for the Tar Heels’ game at N.C. State on Wednesday.
“We still don’t know if he’s going to play against North Carolina State,” UNC coach Roy Williams said on Monday during the weekly ACC teleconference.
The Tar Heels clearly missed Hicks at Duke. His absence mitigated UNC’s size advantage in the post, where Williams had been hoping to exploit mismatches in UNC’s favor. Instead it was Duke that exploited UNC’s inability to defend Jayson Tatum, especially in the second half.
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Without Hicks, the Tar Heels were out-rebounded for only the third time this season. Hicks’ absence also left UNC overly reliant on Kennedy Meeks on the inside, and Duke focused its defensive efforts on limiting his touches.
Williams said Hicks has been limited in practice and hadn’t been doing any “full-court work.” Hicks is UNC’s third-leading scorer (12.8 points per game) and second-leading rebounder (5.6 rebounds per game).
The decision on Hicks’ availability for the N.C. State game on Wednesday “probably won’t be made until we see how he looks in practice tomorrow,” Williams said.
UNC at NC State
When: 8 p.m. Wednesday
Where: PNC Arena, Raleigh