North Carolina head basketball coach Roy Williams may be without his top reserve against Auburn in the Sweet 16. Nassir Little is questionable with an illness. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo
March 28 (UPI) -- North Carolina freshman forward Nassir Little may not play in the Tar Heels' Sweet 16 game against Auburn due to an illness.
Little missed practice Wednesday and Thursday due to flu-like symptoms. The team listed him as questionable for UNC's matchup against the Tigers on Friday.
Tar Heels head coach Roy Williams wasn't optimistic that Little would suit up against 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 told reporters. "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."
Little is a key reserve for North Carolina, averaging 10 points and 4.7 rebounds per game in the regular season. In 21 minutes of playing time, he led the Tar Heels with 20 points and seven rebounds in the team's second-round win over Washington last weekend. Against Iona in the first round, he had 19 points and four boards in 17 minutes off the bench.
Little is the Tar Heels' leading scorer through their first two NCAA tournament games with 19.5 points per game.
"Last weekend he was sensational," Williams said. "If he's going to play like that all the time, we're going to miss that greatly because we don't have anybody who can do those things that he did."
Junior Brandon Robinson, who is averaging 3.2 points, would earn more minutes if Little misses any time.