Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

Elite 8 Preview North Carolina vs. Kansas

Published on March 25, 2012 by Scott Shirley   ·   1 Comment

North Carolina/Kansas

Without the best point guard in the nation the North Carolina Tar Heels found a way to survive and advance against Ohio. They really missed Kendall Marshall to no surprise as they committed 24 turnovers against Ohio. They had 13 turnovers in the first half that is more than Tar Heels had in 21 full games this season. Backup point guard Stilman White did an excellent job of running the offense. He finished the game with 6 assists and no turnovers. However, there is no question White cannot get the easy shots for his teammates that Marshall can. White cannot penetrate the lane at all. With Marshall out two players step their game up big time. ACC Player of the Year Tyler Zeller was unstoppable in this game. He finished with 20 points and 22 rebounds, and 4 blocks. Eight of those rebounds where offensive. He should have gotten a lot more touches. Zeller became the 4th player in last 35 seasons to have a 20/20 game in tourney along with Hakeem Olajuwon (’83), Joe Smith (’95), Tim Duncan (’97). Reggie Bullock stepped his game up big time. He finished the game with 17 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists. 15 of those points came from the three pointers. Many of these three’s where clutch shots, including one late in regulation and a key three in overtime. He had 10 rebounds, 5 assists and 5 three’s – 4th guy to do that in an NCAA tourney game and 1st since Ray Allen in ’96. John Henson still playing with a sore wrist finished the game with a double double 14 points and 10 rebounds. Henson hit some big jump shots but he was only 2 of 6 from the free throw line. The Tar Heels are the best rebounding team in the nation and in this game they just dominated Ohio on the glass outrebounding them by 30. Harrison Barnes really struggled bad in this game. He shot 3 of 16 from the field with 5 turnovers. Only one of those shots was in the paint he needs to attack the rim more especially against the smaller team. To Barnes credit though, he turned it up in overtime.  He needs to play 100 times better if the Heels want to advance.


Kansas has not played their best basketball in the NCAA tournament but they are still winning that’s all that matters. Thomas Robinson had his best game last time out against Purdue. Robinson had another monster game with 18 points, 15 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals. Six of those rebounds were offensive. Robinson did only shoot 7 of 17 from the field and 4 of 9 from the free throw line. So he left a lot of points out there. Fellow big men Jeff Withey only had 8 points and 5 rebounds but his impact on this game was with block shots. Withey, the Big 12 defensive player of the year finished the game with 10 blocks. The Jawhawks won against NC State because of defense. NC State only shot 28 % from the field, and from three. In three NCAA tournament games Kansas opponents are only shooting 33 % (59-180) from the field. That is great defense. Even if they are struggling on offense they can also count on their defense. The Jayhawks forced 14 turnovers. Elijah Johnson continued his hot play with 11 points on 5 of 8 shooting. He also added 3 assists. He is the one Kansas player who is playing at his best in this tournament. Kansas star point guard Tyshawn Taylor really struggled in this game. He finished with 6 points on 2 of 14 shooting. He was also just 2 of 5 from the free throw line. Taylor also committed 5 turnovers. He did however impact the games in other ways. He did finish with 10 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals. If Kansas wants to go to the final four he needs to play a lot better. Kansas is not shooting well last game versus NC State they were just 1 of 14 from three and 11 of 20 from the charity strike.

If Kansas was hot coming into this game I would take them to win but they are not. I like North Carolina in this game because of the play of the best frontcourt in the country. Zeller and Henson you know are always going to give you steady game but Barnes is the wildcard. Last game he took a lot of heat I think he will have a bounce back game and lead the Tar Heels to victory. North Carolina-67 Kansas-63









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