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.

VIDEO: Jay-Z’s nephew posterizes nation’s No. 1 recruit Marvin Bagley III

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Nahziah Carter is an unsigned 6-foot-6 wing in the Class of 2017.

He’s also Jay-Z’s nephew, and he just so happened to posterize Marvin Bagley III — the clearcut No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2018 — while Hova was in the stands watching him.

NCAA denies extra-year request by NC State guard Henderson

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The NCAA has denied North Carolina State guard Terry Henderson’s request for another year of eligibility.

Henderson announced the decision Friday in a statement issued by the school.

The Raleigh native played two seasons at West Virginia before transferring to N.C. State and redshirting in 2014-15. He played for only 7 minutes of the following season before suffering a season-ending ankle injury.

As a redshirt senior in 2016-17, he was the team’s second-leading scorer at 13.8 points per game and made a team-best 78 3-pointers.

Henderson called it “an honor and privilege” to play in his hometown.

SMU gets transfer in Georgetown’s Akoy Agau

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SMU pulled in a frontcourt player in Georgetown transfer Akoy Agau, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. Agau is immediately eligible for next season as a graduate transfer.

The 6-foot-8 Agau started his career at Louisville before transferring to Georgetown after one season. Spending two seasons with the Hoyas, Agau was limited to 11 minutes in his first season due to injuries. He averaged 4.5 points and 4.3 rebounds per game last season.

Coming out of high school, Agau was a four-star prospect but he’s never lived up to that billing in-part because of injuries. Now, Agau gets one more chance to make a difference as he’s hoping to help replace some departed pieces like Ben Moore and Semi Ojeleye.

South Carolina loses big man Sedee Keita to transfer

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South Carolina big man Sedee Keita will transfer from the program, he announced on Friday.

The 6-foot-9 Keita was once regarded as a top-100 national prospect in the Class of 2016, but he never found consistent minutes with the Gamecocks for last season’s Final Four team.

Keita appeared in 29 games and averaged 1.1 points and 2.0 rebounds per game while shooting 27 percent from the field.

A native of Philadelphia, Keita will have to sit out next season before getting three more seasons of eligibility.

Although Keita failed to make an impact during his only season at South Carolina, he’ll be a coveted transfer thanks to his size and upside.

Mississippi State losing two to transfer

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Mississippi State will lose two players to transfer as freshmen Mario Kegler and Eli Wright are leaving the program.

Both Kegler and Wright were four-star prospects coming out of high school as they were apart of a six-man recruiting class that is supposed to be a major foundation for Ben Howland’s future with the Bulldogs.

The 6-foot-7 Kegler was Mississippi State’s third-leading scorer last season as he averaged 9.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Kegler should command some quality schools on the transfer market, especially since he’ll still have three more years of eligibility after sitting out next season due to NCAA transfer regulations. Kegler’s loss is also notable for Mississippi State because it is the second consecutive offseason that Howland lost a top-100, in-state product to transfer after only one season after Malik Newman left for Kansas.

Wright, a 6-foot-4 guard, was never able to find consistent minutes as he was already behind underclass perimeter options like Quinndary Weatherspoon, Lamar Peters and Tyson Carter last season. With Nick Weatherspoon, Quinndary’s four-star brother, also joining the Bulldogs next season, the writing was likely on the wall that Wright wasn’t going to earn significant playing time.