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North Carolina's Hairston, McDonald Won't Travel With Team To Connecticut

Liz Condo-USA TODAY Sports

North Carolina coach Roy Williams announced Thursday that standout guards P.J. Hairston and Leslie McDonald will not make the trip with the rest of the team to Connecticut for the Hall of Fame Tip-Off. Both players are currently being held out of action as they deal with NCAA issues.

The Tar Heels will face Richmond on Saturday in one tournament semifinal, and if they win, will likely meet Louisville a day later in the championship game.

Carolina's lack of backcourt depth has been exposed without McDonald and Hairston, most notably on Sunday when they were stunned by Belmont on their home floor. The absences have forced freshman Nate Britt into the starting point guard role, and forced Marcus Paige to slide over to the two spot.

UNC is still nationally ranked and still plenty talented, but there's no question that the absences of two of their best players takes at least a little bit of the shine off of what was supposed to be one of Louisville's two showcase non-conference games.