Auburn ready for challenge of North Carolina

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Auburn prepares for Sweet 16

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (WIAT) — If Auburn’s path to the Sweet 16 hasn’t been easy, things are about to get even tougher Friday night at the Sprint Center.

The No. 5-seeded Tigers are preparing to take on basketball powerhouse North Carolina.

Carolina guard Kenny Williams is ready to go after straining his hamstring last weekend. Top bench player Nassir Little is questionable with the flu. Little was held out of practice Wednesday and Thursday. He could be a game-time decision.

The Tar Heels (29-6) are the nation’s third-highest scoring team, relying on a mixture of one-and-done stars and been-there, done-that vets. They race up and down the floor at a breakneck pace, one that caused fits for mighty Duke and helped them win a share of the regular-season ACC title.

“It’s the way we’ve always played,” North Carolina coach Roy Williams said. “When I played 100 years ago, I loved playing that way. I think fans the like it. The only thing left is coaches, and I don’t think the game was designed for my enjoyment.”

If the Tigers (28-9) slow down Carolina, they might topple another of college basketball’s premier programs. Auburn already dusted off Kansas to reach the Sweet 16 for only the fifth time in its history, and it has been 33 years since its only trip to the Elite Eight.

Tip off in this one is set for 7:30 p.m. ET.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)

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