Two certainties in Heels-Huskies: A fast pace and Thomas trash talking

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That last time North Carolina dealt with Isiah Thomas, he couldn’t be stopped in the 1981 national title. The new version has that same ability.

And he’ll let them know about it.

Washington (24-10) and their talented point guard, Isaiah Thomas – who is named after the former Indiana and Detroit Pistons star – are ready to rev up their offense when they face the East’s No. 2 seeded Tar Heels Sunday in Charlotte. Expect a fast, fast game.

And expect Thomas to talk. Have you seen his Twitter account? It’s nothing but playful jabs and trash talk.

“I love it,” Thomas said Saturday. “I mean, our backs are up against the wall. We have very few fans here. It feels like everybody is against us like it’s been the whole season. So it’s nothing new.

“We know it’s going to be a lot of baby blue in the crowd. We’re ready for it. It’s the NCAA tournament.”

He better be ready. North Carolina will have a sizable contingent supporting them. (Or course, any Duke fans waiting for the Devils’ tip-off after the UW-UNC game will almost certainly back the Huskies.)

“We’re two hours away and we know we have a lot of fans here supporting us,” UNC guard Dexter Strickland said. “So the intensity of the crowd will help us get more intensity and play with a better sense of urgency.”

The Heels (27-7) are coming off a 102-87 win over Long Island that saw Roy Williams pleased about the points, but not the 18 turnovers. The Huskies are ready to bring plenty of pressure themselves, which should create a game that has the winner hit at least 90 points.

Thomas isn’t the only one who’s excited for this.

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.

WATCH LIVE: St. Bonaventure hosts Saint Louis on NBCSN

St. Bonaventure's Denzel Gregg celebrates after they defeated St. Joseph's after an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016, in Philadelphia.  (Charles Fox/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP) PHIX OUT; TV OUT; MAGS OUT; NEWARK OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT
(Charles Fox/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)
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St. Bonaventure is looking to keep pace with the Atlantic 10’s elite as they host Saint Louis on Sunday afternoon. You can watch this A-10 contest live on NBCSN at 2:00 p.m. EST.

Coming off of a huge road win at Saint Joseph’s, the Bonnies (14-6, 6-3) have won two consecutive games with a winnable stretch of two more before a key conference clash with George Washington. The trio of Marcus Posley (19.1 ppg), Jaylen Adams (18.5 ppg) and Dion Wright (16.2 ppg) has been putting up a ton of points this season and slowing down that group will be the focal point of the Saint Louis defense.

The Billikens (8-13, 3-6) are coming off of two consecutive double-digit losses and will try to regroup on the road. Senior guard Ash Yacoubou paces the Saint Louis offense at 12.2 points per game and junior guard Mike Crawford (10.9 ppg) is the only other player averaging double-figures.

These two teams will play again on March 5 when the Bonnies head to the Midwest.

CLICK HERE to watch these games on NBC Sports Live Extra Sunday afternoon.

PREGAME SHOOTAROUND: Some conference matchups play out before football

Oregon forward Dillon Brooks, left, reacts after scoring a basket against Utah during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Salt Lake City, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016. Oregon defeated Utah 77-59. (AP Photo/George Frey)
(AP Photo/George Frey)
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GAME OF THE NIGHT: Utah at No. 16 Oregon, 4:00 p.m.

From Rob Dauster’s Weekend Preview:

Utah suffered one of the worst losses I’ve seen in a while on Thursday night, when Brandon Taylor, for some unknown reason, decided to foul an Oregon State player firing up a half court prayer at the buzzer. The Utes, who are arguably the second-best team in the Pac-12, will look to bounce-back on Sunday against the best team in the Pac-12, No. 16 Oregon at 4:00 p.m.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR:

1. No. 12 SMU will attempt to stay atop the American standings as they travel to South Florida. While the Mustangs won the first matchup between these two teams at home by 14, they’ve dropped their last two games on the road.

2. A few more American contests are going down as East Carolina travels to UConn and Houston heads to Tulsa. The game between the Cougars and Golden Hurricane is especially interesting because both teams are sitting two games back of SMU and trying to make a move on the postseason.

3. No. 5 Iowa continues the soft part of the schedule as they face Illinois on the road. The Hawkeyes posted recent easy victories over Northwestern and Penn State and will be heavily favored again on Sunday.

4. Could be an intriguing game as No. 17 Miami travels to Georgia Tech. Although the Yellow Jackets aren’t a major contender in the ACC, they’ve been tough this season, especially at home. The Hurricanes fell victim to Georgia Tech last season while they were ranked by Marcus Georges-Hunt has to get back on track after a recent slump for that to happen.

5. There is an Atlantic 10 game that will be featured on NBCSN on Sunday: Saint Louis at St. Bonaventure (2:00 p.m.).

CLICK HERE to watch these games on NBC Sports Live Extra Sunday afternoon.