Nassir Little has led North Carolina in scoring during the NCAA Tournament but the flu bug could knock him out of the Sweet 16 game vs. Auburn on Friday night.
While it’s March Madness, it’s apparently still cold and flu season, and it could dramatically influence how well North Carolina plays in the Sweet 16. Star reserve Nassir Little is battling the flu that kept him out of practice on Wednesday and Thursday and his status for Friday’s Sweet 16 game vs. Auburn is a game-time call.
Little leads North Carolina in scoring through the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament and he provides an instant spark when he’s on the court. Little may have been viewed as a disappointment during the regular season, but he’s come alive at the perfect time for Roy Williams’ team.
However, Williams doesn’t sound too confident he’ll have his star freshman vs. Auburn.
“I can say it’s hard to make a 180-degree turn because there’s no way in the world he could play if we were playing today,” Williams said Thursday.
“He didn’t feel good last night. He was running a little bit of a temperature, running more of a temperature this morning. He didn’t feel like eating. I didn’t even bring him over here to the arena with us. … He’s sitting there [at breakfast on Thursday] and he has his plate in front of him, and it looked to me like it was hard to pick up that fork, and the last time I looked it wasn’t very heavy.”
As anyone who has had the flu can tell you, a lot can change in 24-48 hours so it’s not necessarily a certainty he’ll miss Friday’s game. Expect Little to be drinking as much water, sleeping as much as he can and downing bottles of NyQuil before Friday with the hopes of kicking this bug.
If he can’t shake the flu, he can always draw motivation from former Tar Heels great, Michael Jordan, who had one of his most memorable games while battling the flu.
North Carolina plays Auburn at 7:29 p.m. ET on Friday, March 29.