Villanova Wildcats head coach Wright yells at officials during NCAA men's basketball tournament against North Carolina Tar Heels in Kansas City

Broken hand to sideline Villanova guard Dylan Ennis four weeks

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After sitting out the 2012-13 season after transferring in from Rice, Villanova guard Dylan Ennis is expected to be a part of Jay Wright’s perimeter rotation this season. In his one season as an Owl Ennis, a native of Brampton, Ontario, averaged 8.5 points, 4.3 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game and earned Conference USA All-Freshman Team honors.

Unfortunately the plans of Ennis factoring into the Villanova rotation have hit a snag, as the school announced on Friday that Ennis will miss at least four weeks after breaking a bone in his right hand. Ennis suffered the break to the third metatarsal in that hand during practice on Thursday.

“We’re disappointed for Dylan because we know how excited he was about being out there with his teammates,” Wright said in the release. “But we know that Dylan will work hard during this time so that he is ready to help us as soon as his injury has healed.”

So who steps in as the player most likely to relieve starter Ryan Arcidiacono in Ennis’ absence? According to Nick Menta of CSN Philly, the answer to that question could be a player who at one point this past spring wanted to transfer.

Ennis was expected to be the primary backup to Ryan Arcidiacono, but those duties likely now revert to senior Tony Chennault, who transferred to Villanova from Wake Forest within weeks of Ennis back in 2012.

Chennault, who figures to see fewer minutes and play off the ball in a crowded Villanova backcourt, actually announced his intent to transfer this past April, but later decided to stay with the program.

With Ennis expected to miss at least four weeks (he’ll be re-evaluated by team doctors at that time), the question is whether or not he’ll be ready to return when the Wildcats participate in the Battle 4 Atlantis in late-November. Villanova opens with USC in an event that includes Kansas (possible semifinal opponent), Iowa, Tennessee and Xavier.

Marcus Paige, Joel Berry lead No. 9 North Carolina past No. 2 Maryland

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — He’s back.

For the first time this season — and for the first time in more than a year that he hasn’t been hampered with some kind of foot or ankle injury — Marcus Paige donned a North Carolina jersey, and it didn’t take him long to find the form that made him the Preseason National Player of the Year.

On the first Tar Heel possession, Paige came off of a ball-screen, drove the lane and found Kennedy Meeks at the rim for a layup. Not 30 seconds later, he came off of a down screen and buried a three. Paige would finish with 20 points and five assists as No. 9 North Carolina put together a fairly resounding win over No. 2 Maryland in the Dean Dome on Tuesday night, winning 89-81.

Paige finished 7-for-12 from the floor and 4-for-5 from beyond the arc, hitting a number of threes in the second half that helped hold off a Maryland push sparked by their own all-american point guard, Melo Trimble.

Trimble was erratic early on, committing three turnovers in the first six minutes and eight on the night, but it was his play at the end of the first half and early second half that kept North Carolina from blowing their doors. At one point, Maryland was down 32-19 and in danger of getting run out of Tobacco Road.

In total, Trimble finished with 23 points and 12 assists, hitting four big threes during that stretch. He either scored or assisted on 11 of Maryland’s first 12 second half field goals.

As good as Paige was, the bigger story may actually be Joel Berry II. He took two dumb threes in the first half — which played a role in Maryland being able to make this a game — and he missed a few free throws late, but overall he was terrific. He finished with 14 points and five assists, making 3-of-5 threes and turning the ball over just twice. He’s clearly beat Nate Britt out at the point guard spot, and his ability to take pressure off of Paige as a secondary ball-handler and playmaker is huge.

(More to come from Chapel Hill…)

VIDEO: Melo Trimble drops Nate Britt with a crossover

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North Carolina is hosting No. 2 Maryland in a heated contest in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Terps sophomore guard Melo Trimble is playing very well and part of his performance was dropping North Carolina’s Nate Britt with a crossover in the second half.

(H/T: The Cauldron)