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North Carolina star says he’ll “try his hardest” to play against Indiana Wednesday

Friends Trayce Jackson-Davis and Armando Bacot have been talking about the Indiana vs. North Carolina Big Ten / ACC Challenge matchup since it was announced in June.

But with the game set for Wednesday evening in Bloomington, both of the preseason All-Americans are dealing with injuries.

Jackson-Davis missed a game last Wednesday due to a back issue, and he appeared to be playing at less than 100 percent in Indiana’s Friday win over Jackson State.

Meanwhile, Bacot suffered an ankle injury on Sunday during North Carolina’s four overtime loss to Alabama, and his status for Wednesday’s showdown at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall appears to be in question.

“I’m gonna try my hardest (to play against Indiana),” Bacot told reporters after the Alabama game.  “I never want to sit out a game, and especially a big time game like that.  I’m gonna try my hardest to get out there.”

Through seven games, Bacot is averaging 16.7 points and 11.3 rebounds while shooting 56.7 percent from the field.

Bacot played sparingly during the four overtime sessions against Alabama.  He said he felt “sharp pains” and could be seen noticeably limping after rolling his ankle.

The 6-foot-11 Bacot was named preseason first team AP All-American, All-ACC and ACC Preseason Player of the Year.

Bacot set a school record and tied the all-time Division 1 record with 31 double-doubles as a junior in the 2021-22 season. During the Tar Heels’ run to the national championship game, Bacot became the first player ever to record double-doubles in all six games NCAA Tournament games.

He averaged 16.1 points and 13.1 rebounds per game and shattered North Carolina’s records for total rebounds (511, 95 more than second place) and games with 10 or more rebounds (32, nine more than second place). He was named first team All-ACC and was the runner-up for ACC Player of the Year.

Indiana and North Carolina play at 9:15 p.m. Wednesday evening in Bloomington.  After entering last week No. 1, the Tar Heels (5-2) are on a two-game losing streak.

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