For informational purposes only, Geist has the Heels beating Kentucky.
North Carolina coach Roy Williams deflected questions about the status of point guard Kendall Marshall by saying repeatedly that he is not a doctor. Neither is AP college basketball writer Jim O’Connell. He doesn’t even play one on TV. But O’Connell is certain about this much:
“Bad shooting is a lot easier to fix than a broken bone.”
The bad-shooting tag belonged to Kansas, based on the way the Jayhawks misfired (1-for-14 on 3-point attempts) against North Carolina State in a semifinal win. The broken bone belongs to Marshall. His absence from the Ohio University game, because of the damaged wrist, exposed how much the Tar Heels’ offense relies on his ability to get the ball to the right teammate at the right time, especially at the end of games.
Even if Marshall can play, his minutes and effectiveness will be limited. All the Jayhawks have to do to rebound from their performance the other night, is practice. That’s why O’Connell’s prognosis is Kansas by a handful.
STAT OF THE DAY
In case you missed it, three teams from North Carolina made the Sweet 16. Kansas beat one of them, North Carolina State, and if they get past the Tar Heels, STATS LLC says history gives them a 50-50 chance to win it all. Eight teams have accomplished what the Jayhawks are trying to do, knock at least two North Carolina entries out the same tournament, and four of them went on to cut down the nets: Marquette beat Wake Forest, UNC-Charlotte and North Carolina in 1977; Louisville beat North Carolina and Duke in 1986; Arkansas beat North Carolina A&T and Duke in 1994; and if you believe in omens, Kansas beat Davidson and North Carolina en route to their 2008 title.
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