The biggest story line heading into tonight’s national championship game is the health of North Carolina center Armando Bacot.
Bacot sprained his right ankle late in Saturday night’s semifinal win over Duke. After being helped to the sideline and missing a brief stretch of play, the junior big man returned to help the Tar Heels close out their arch-rival.
The X-rays on Bacot’s ankle were negative, and he and head coach Hubert Davis have made it clear that nothing will keep him from playing tonight. However, it is worth wondering how effective he’ll be.
The pregame reporting from New Orleans indicated that Bacot may have a slight limp, and at the very least, looks to be moving a bit gingerly. How much he’s able to contribute tonight could mean the difference between a win and a loss.
Armando Bacot jogging out with a little bit of a limp. Going to tough it out in the Natty! pic.twitter.com/SrCju26PvJ
— Terrence Oglesby (@CoachTO22) April 5, 2022
Armando Bacot is not exactly convincing people he can play much tonight.
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) April 5, 2022
Armando Bacot walks off the bus at 0:35. Slight limp. https://t.co/jDEJPSqDk9
— Jeff Haseley (@JeffHaseley) April 5, 2022
Moneyline just moved at some sharper books, towards Kansas. Have to think some people saw that Bacot limp.
— The Ever Elusive Weezopotamus. (@weezel32) April 5, 2022
Watching Armando Bacot in pregame warmups on TBS.
If there is a limp, it’s very slight. Didn’t have much lift on his ankle, though.
He’ll play, but clearly not 100%. We won’t really know until this game tips off. #NationalChampionship
— Owen (@Alakazam_428) April 5, 2022
No noticeable limp from Bacot in warmups but he’s moving slowly
— Brian Rauf (@brauf33) April 5, 2022
Kansas, North Carolina’s opponent tonight, has a workhorse down low in David McCormack, who posted 25 points and nine rebounds in the Jayhawks’ win over Villanova on Saturday.
We’ll see if Bacot is able to physically hang with McCormack as the Tar Heels try to wrap up their second national title in the last five tournaments.
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