Game-time calls: Meeks, Jackson

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Thursday, April 2, 2015

LOS ANGELES -- The North Carolina Tar Heels and Wisconsin Badgers both have question marks because of injuries heading into Thursday's Sweet 16 matchup in the NCAA West Regional.

UNC forward Kennedy Meeks, who sprained his left knee against Arkansas, had limited contact during an early closed practice and then didn't do much during the open practice Wednesday. Coach Roy Williams said the 6-foot-9, 270-pound Meeks -- who has a nearly 30- pound advantage on Wisconsin 7-footer Frank Kaminsky -- would be a game-time decision if there weren't any complications overnight.

"I'm doing pretty well," said Meeks, who is averaging 11.6 points and 7.4 rebounds per game. "I'm jumping a little bit more and trying to do all the right things so I can take care of my knee."

If Meeks can't go, the Tar Heels (26-11) may go small, like they did after Meeks went out against the Razorbacks.

"I don't want to just say when nobody can guard Frank, let's just play, small because that takes away part of our game as our inside scoring," Williams said. "So it is a balance there that you have to have."

The Badgers (33-3) have a question mark on their own roster, with guard Traevon Jackson's status up in the air.

The senior has yet to appear in the NCAA tournament and has missed 18 straight games since breaking his right foot in a loss at Rutgers on Jan. 11. Jackson got in a few possessions during practice on Tuesday, and Ryan said Wednesday that if he's physically ready he would reward Jackson with some playing time.

"Now, how many possessions or how many trips up and down the court, that remains to be seen," Badgers coach Bo Ryan said.

But Jackson did make it sound like he'll return.

"I've been playing this game for too long to have nervousness on the court," he said. "It's a joy to be back on the court."

The top-seeded Badgers and the No. 4-seeded Tar Heels are meeting in the NCAA tournament for the second time and the first since 2006. The Tar Heels won both games.

North Carolina hasn't been this far since 2012, although the Tar Heels are 25-6 all-time in regional semifinals.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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