A sinking feeling beset UNC fans on Saturday night when Armando Bacot went down late in the game with a leg injury.
Duke and UNC were minutes away from deciding which team will face top-seeded Kansas at the NCAA championship game.
As both teams tied at 65 with 5:18 left, Bacot trailed Duke forward Paolo Banchero. After going up to reach for Banchero’s attempted layup, Bacot landed and twisted his ankle on teammate Leaky Black.
With a championship matchup against Bill Self’s Kansas Jayhawks set for Monday, OutKick’s ProFootballDoc assessed Bacot’s injury to determine whether the big man will be hindered on the big stage.
Dr. Chao called the injury a “[r]ight ankle mild inversion lateral sprain” and told fans to expect overnight swelling on the ankle.
Still, Bacot’s chances to play against Kansas remain strong.
Bacot was slow to get up after landing on Black and eventually walked back to the Tar Heels’ locker room with a brittle gait.
Momentum erred with Duke as UNC’s best rebounder (finishing the game with 21) in Bacot exited in crunch time.
Bacot left the contest with 16 rebounds but returned to the court moments later — with an added spring to his jog in order to shake off the lingering pain.
UNC went on to defeat the second-seeded Blue Devils, 81-77, and sealed their spot for the championship game.
Kansas will face UNC after defeating Villanova on Saturday. The Jayhawks outrebounded their opponent, 35-29.
Against St. Peter’s in the Elite Eight round, Bacot recorded 20 points and 22 rebounds.
Follow along on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela