In a season in which they under-performed expectations early on, the North Carolina Tar Heels don't have as many names near the top of NBA Draft boards as they generally do. But if the team carries its strong late-season play into the NCAA Tournament, that could change.
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North Carolina, a No. 8 seed, got off to a good start by beating No. 9 Villanova Friday. Big man James McAdoo, currently projected to go 19th overall in the NBA Draft by DraftExpress after being considered a fringe lottery prospect after his freshman season in 2012, scored 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting Friday while grabbing four rebounds and two steals, although he did turn it over five times. Other players with NBA aspirations also performed well. P.J. Hairston led all scorers with 23 points with Marcus Paige scored 14 points and Reggie Bullock scored 15.
Although McAdoo is the only one projected in the first round this season, all four players are at least on the fringes of being NBA prospects. They'll get another opportunity to improve their chances on Sunday. They'll play the winner of the No. 1 seed Kansas vs. No. 16 Western Kentucky game.