Joel Berry II set to return for top-10 UNC-Kentucky matchup

North Carolina junior point guard Joel Berry II is expected return to the lineup against No. 6 Kentucky on Saturday after missing the past two games with a sprained left ankle, the school confirmed Friday.

Berry is arguably the most important player for the seventh-ranked Tar Heels. He leads the team in assists at 4.6 per game and is second in scoring at 14.8 points per game. Most importantly, UNC has a smoother offensive flow with him on the court. In the nine games with Berry, the Heels averaged 50.6 percent shooting from the field and 90.2 points per game.

In wins over Davidson and Tennessee without Berry, Carolina combined to shoot 38.8 percent from the field and averaged just 78 points. Berry had started every game this season after starting all but one game as a sophomore.

On Thursday, coach Roy Williams said he was unsure how much Berry could go because the team hadn't fully practiced during final exams. Berry has participated in two practices, according to the team's official Twitter account, including Thursday in Chapel Hill and Friday in Las Vegas.

Carolina's game against Kentucky in the CBS Sports Classic will mark the 12th time both teams have been ranked in the top 10. That ties UCLA and Notre Dame for the most top-10 meetings among non-conference rivals, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The Heels have a 7-4 advantage in those games.
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