Reggie Bullock, Desharick Guidry

North Carolina’s Reggie Bullock expected to return Sunday

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North Carolina is coming off the biggest win of the year defeating UNLV 79-73 win at home on Saturday. To start the New Year, the Tar Heels received some more good news.

Junior, Reggie Bullock, the team’s second-leading scorer, returned to full practice on Friday and is expected to play in North Carolina’s conference opener against Virginia on Sunday, according to ESPN’s Robbi Pickeral.

Bullock, the 6-foot-7 wing, has been out since suffering a mild concussion on Dec. 27, when he and teammate, James Michael McAdoo collided into each at practice.

“Reggie was able to go through about half of practice today,” Tar Heels coach Roy Williams said on Friday. “If he doesn’t have any headaches, or any recurrence of symptoms that they worry about (with) the concussion, I would expect him to completely practice tomorrow. And if he does the same thing after that, I would expect him to play on Sunday.

“Everybody uses this term — ‘Cautiously optimistic’ is where we are.”

Depending on how Bullock responds following his return to the floor, Williams said Bullock could return to the starting lineup against Virginia.

The addition of Bullock is a big lift for North Carolina, as the Tar Heels open ACC play with three games – Virginia, Miami, and Florida State – in a span of a week. Bullock is coming into his own so far in his junior season, seeing career-highs in points, rebounds, and steals.  He’s also connecting on 48 percent of his three’s.

Bullock is averaging 13.1 points and 5.7 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game.

North Carolina and Virginia enter Sunday’s game with identical 10-3 records.

Terrence is also the lead writer at NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne

VIDEO: Winthrop’s Keon Johnson goes coast-to-coast for buzzer-beater

Winthrop's Keon Johnson (5) shoots a layup while defended by Coastal Carolina's Warren Gillis during the first half of the Big South Conference Championship college basketball game Sunday, March 8, 2015, in Conway, S.C. Coastal Carolina won 81-70. (AP Photo/Richard Shiro)
(AP Photo/Richard Shiro)
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Winthop earned a Big South road win at Radford on Saturday afternoon as junior guard Keon Johnson raced coast-to-coast and buried the game-winner at the buzzer.

The 5-foot-7 Johnson erupted for 32 points in the win and he’s been one of the most potent mid-major scorers in the country this season. The win moves Winthrop to 18-7 on the season and their 10-4 mark in the Big South ties them with UNC Asheville atop the conference standings.

(H/T: LiveonASN)

After blowout of South Carolina, is No. 22 Kentucky a Final Four contender?

Kentucky guard Tyler Ulis (3) guards the ball after a rebound during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Auburn, Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016, in Auburn, Ala. Auburn won 75-70. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
(AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
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It only took 2:26 for official Doug Sirmons to plant two technical fouls on Kentucky head coach John Calipari, and that may have been the worst thing that could have happened to South Carolina.

He poked the bear, and the result was that a ticked off No. 22 Wildcat team proceeded to run the Gamecocks out of their own gym, 89-62.

The star of the show was interim head coach Tyler Ulis, who put together as dominating of a performance as you’ll ever see out of a player that stands 5-foot-9. Ulis finished with 27 points and 12 assists, hitting 4-for-8 from three and turning the ball over just once.

Marcus Lee added 11 points and 13 boards, including six on the offensive end, and Jamal Murray had his customary 26 points on 9-for-21 shooting, but the story of this game was Ulis.

I’m not sure I’ve ever seed a player under 6-foot capable of dominating a game the way that Ulis can dominate. Murray can take over with the best of them — we saw it against Florida and Ohio State — but when it comes to the NCAA tournament, this Kentucky team will go as far as Ulis carries them.

And based on the way that he’s played in the last six weeks, that could end up being pretty far. In SEC play, Ulis is averaging 19.4 points and 7.6 assists. He’s scored at least 17 points in 12 of the last 14 games and has notched as least five assists in all 14. He just orchestrated a total mollywhopping of a Frank Martin-coached team that was tied for first place in the SEC while playing without his head coach and on the road.

The issue with Kentucky is the same today as it was a month ago. They’re a two-man team with an inconsistent supporting cast. When their two studs play like this, they can beat anyone in the country. When they don’t, they can struggle against anyone.

But here’s the thing: When Ulis is playing the way that he’s played of late, they don’t really need all that much from their supporting cast. Derek Willis needs to be able to space the floor. Lee and Skal Labissiere need to be able to hold their own against opposing big men.

And when that happens?

Kentucky is clearly the best team in the SEC and good enough to be able to win four straight in the Big Dance and get to a Final Four.