The Marshall question: Midwest Regional Sweet 16 preview
No. 1 North Carolina Tar Heels vs. No. 13 Ohio Bobcats, Midwest Regional at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, MO. Friday, March 23, 7:47 p.m. ET, TBS
How they got here:
Second Round: No. 1 North Carolina defeated No. 16 Vermont, 77-58.
Third Round: No. 1 North Carolina defeated No. 8 Creighton, 87-73.
Second Round: No. 13 Ohio defeated No. 4 Michigan, 65-60.
Third Round: No. 13 Ohio defeated No. 12 South Florida, 62-56.
There is one big question about this game, and that is the health of North Carolina (31-5) point guard Kendall Marshall. Marshall is one of the best point guards in the nation, but he broke a bone in his wrist in the Tar Heels' win over Creighton and had surgery early this week.
While he hasn't been ruled out fro Friday's game with the Bobcats, he did say Thursday that if the game had been on Thursday, he wouldn't be able to go.
That is bad news for North Carolina, who only has two players who average more than 2 assists a game, and both are injured. Without Marshall, freshman Stillman White, who played 4.3 minutes a game this season will likely have the first shot at filling his shoes.
Luckily for the Tar Heels, they still have three bonafide stars in Harrison Barnes, John Henson and ACC Player of the Year Tyler Zeller to help carry the load, even without Marshall.
Ohio (29-7) is the lowest seed remaining in the tournament, and has gotten to the Sweet 16 with stifling defense.
The Bobcats upset Michigan in the second round, and won a battle of double-digit seeds against South Florida in round three.
No. 2 Kansas Jayhawks vs. No. 11 North Carolina State Wolfpack, Midwest Regional at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, MO. Friday, March 23, 10:17 p.m. ET, TBS
How they got here:
Second Round: No. 2 Kansas defeated No. 15 Detroit, 65-50.
Third Round: No. 2 Kansas defeated No. 10 Purdue, 63-60.
Second Round: No. 11 North Carolina State defeated No. 6 San Diego State, 79-65.
Third Round: No. 11 North Carolina State defeated No. 3 Georgetown, 66-63.
The Jayhawks (29-6) trailed for 39 minutes in their third-round win over Purdue, but in a game that Bill Self normally loses, Kansas gutted out a victory, thanks to Elijah Johnson.
Kansas has not played its best basketball in its first two games, and Player of the Year candidate Thomas Robinson will have to be better than he was against Purdue if the Jayhawks are going to down upset-minded North Carolina State.
The Wolfpack (24-12) have been as impressive as anyone in their pair of upsets. North Carolina State was the last team shown on the board during the Selection Show, but has done everything it can to show it belongs in the tournament.
The Wolfpack had four players in double digits in their third-round upset of the Hoyas--but will likely need a big game out of C.J. Leslie if they are going to advance to the Elite Eight.