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Everyone knows Kendall Marshall means a lot to the North Carolina Tar Heels. There’s no doubting the point guard’s ability to control the Tar Heel offensive attack and become the centerpiece upon which everything else in the offense moves. However, head coach Roy Williams believes he’s as essential as perhaps the single most extreme example of a team falling apart after a single player injury.
“It’s just one player, but I think this is the best example,” Williams said, pausing before he continued. “I understand the Indianapolis Colts were in the playoffs [in 2010], then they lose Peyton Manning, and they got the No. 1 pick in the draft [after going 2-14 in 2011 without Manning]. That’s how important Kendall is to us.”
Manning, of course, failed to play for the Colts and everything was lost. A franchise that was once an automatic bid for the playoffs suddenly is choosing first in the draft and blew up the entire roster in the process. That’s quite an overstatement on Williams’ part considering his team moved on through the Sweet 16 without him.
Can they face the Jayhawks without him or even with an injured version? It will be a tough call today.
Kansas is looking to upset No. 1 seed North Carolina and head to the Final Four.
The Kansas Jayhawks are going to be playing a North Carolina Tar Heel team at limited strength. Whether or not Kendall Marshall will be among those out is the biggest question for a UNC team that came close to losing on Friday to the Ohio Bobcats. Not exactly what you expect from a No. 1 seed.
Then again, that shows just how valuable Marshall is as the Tar Heels' point guard. Marshall has been sitting out all week from practice and any game action due to a fractured wrist. He addressed his chance to play in a recent interview: "Today I was able to get out on the court. It felt great to be out there after sitting out for six days. It was obviously sore. It's going to be painful. It's going to be like that for six weeks. It's just a matter of how much I can take. I didn't do any full contact things, nothing 100 percent, but I did do passing, catching, shooting, some little pre-practice secondary drills going up and down. I did what I could. If we were to play right now I would not play, but we'll make a final decision tomorrow after shootaround." The Jayhawks have gone on record saying they want to face North Carolina at full strength, but it will certainly help their chances if Marshall cannot go. He is the ignition for that engine and the team is much more dominant with him than without him. Either way, KU is bound to have their hands full with a Final Four berth on the line.
Then again, that shows just how valuable Marshall is as the Tar Heels' point guard. Marshall has been sitting out all week from practice and any game action due to a fractured wrist. He addressed his chance to play in a recent interview:
"Today I was able to get out on the court. It felt great to be out there after sitting out for six days. It was obviously sore. It's going to be painful. It's going to be like that for six weeks. It's just a matter of how much I can take. I didn't do any full contact things, nothing 100 percent, but I did do passing, catching, shooting, some little pre-practice secondary drills going up and down. I did what I could. If we were to play right now I would not play, but we'll make a final decision tomorrow after shootaround."
The Jayhawks have gone on record saying they want to face North Carolina at full strength, but it will certainly help their chances if Marshall cannot go. He is the ignition for that engine and the team is much more dominant with him than without him. Either way, KU is bound to have their hands full with a Final Four berth on the line.
Go check out Rock Chalk Talk for all things regarding Kansas hoops and Carolina Marchfor everything on North Carolina basketball. For more on the 2012 NCAA Basketball tournament, head over to SB Nation's March Madness hub for all things NCAA basketball.
SB Nation's Dan Rubenstein previews the Sunday Elite Eight matchup between the Kansas Jayhawks and the North Carolina Tar Heels. The basics are covered by talking about Kendall Marshall's wrist injury who at this point in time is a game-time decision against Kansas.
Kansas is projected to move onto the Final Four due to Marshall likely not being a factor, Kansas having the bodies as well as the back court to hang with North Carolina plus the overwhelming factor is that on one likes North Carolina.
Go check out Rock Chalk Talk for all things regarding Kansas hoops and Carolina March for everything on North Carolina basketball. For more on the 2012 NCAA Basketball tournament, head over to SB Nation's March Madness hub for all things NCAA basketball.
North Carolina Tar Heels guard Kendall Marshall practiced for the first time since he broke his wrist last week. Marshall participated in light drills which included dribbling and shooting, but he did not take part in any of the team's live drills.
Head coach Roy Williams talked about what Marshall did in practice and said that he will still be a game-time decision:
"Kendall today [Saturday] went through the dummy stuff," UNC coach Roy Williams said. "It was the first day he's bounced a ball, the first day he caught a ball, the first day he shot a ball."
"Now we want to see if [the wrist] bothers him," Williams said. "[Sunday] at shootaround we'll do the same thing."
Williams said two things would determine if Marshall plays with a Final Four berth on the line.
"He has to feel comfortable and can he be effective in the game in that situation," Williams said.
Kansas Jayhawks head coach Bill Self said that they will prepare as if Marshall will play, but it will not really change how they approach North Carolina.
Go check out Rock Chalk Talk for all things regarding Kansas hoops and Carolina March for North Carolina basketball. For more on the 2012 NCAA Basketball tournament, head over to SB Nation's March Madness hub for all things NCAA basketball.
The Kansas Jayhawks are taking on the North Carolina Tar Heels for the right to move onto the Final Four. North Carolina is the No. 1 seed but they are more than likely going to be without Kendall Marshall, so that takes North Carolina down a notch.
ESPN's Dick Vitale predicts Kansas to upset North Carolina and move on to the Final Four:
Sunday afternoon in St. Louis will be chalked full of storylines on and off the court as the North Carolina Tar Heels and Kansas Jayhawks do battle with a ticket to New Orleans and the Final Four on the line.
Maybe no bigger storyline will be bigger than the availability of North Carolina point guard Kendall Marshall. Back-up Tar Heel point guard Stilman White filled in nicely against Ohio, dishing out six assists and not turning the ball over in 32 minutes. However the Kansas backcourt is another level above that of Ohio.
Marshall figures to give it a go on Sunday afternoon with the season on the line, and look for the Jayhawks to be gearing it up on the defensive end. KU has yet to allow more than 60 points in the NCAA tournament thus far.
The key for Kansas may be which Tyshawn Taylor shows up to play, as he and Thomas Robinson are just a combined 27-of-75 from the field so far in the NCAA tournament. As has been all season, the Jayhawks seemingly go as far at Taylor goes. If Taylor doesn't turn the ball over, it may mean the Jayhawks are headed for another Final Four.
For more KU discussion, make sure to head on over to Rock Talk Chalk, your home for Jayhawk sports on the SB Nation network of blogs.
The Kansas Jayhawks continue to move forward in the NCAA Tournament in the worst way. Last night, the outside shots were not falling. Some games have been much closer than they should be. It was clear from the mood after the game last night that from the coach to the players, no one felt like the team was clicking on all cylinders. In short, despite the Jayhawks' appearance in the Elite 8, something is amiss on the team.
That's what makes it heartening to hear Elijah Johnson speak positively after the game by reminding the players of what they are capable of. If they can make it this far when they can't seem to shoot at all, what happens when it all comes together?
"Every team in the country, I don’t care who it is, plays their best ball at least one game every year," Johnson said, "We haven’t yet, but I think it’s going to happen. The best has yet to come."
It was 34 percent shooting as a team against Purdue. Last night it was 37.5. At this point, it would be easy to say that they need to improve that considerably to have a shot at the Final Four over North Carolina, but it's also clear there's something on the side of the Jayhawks at this point. Maybe they are saving their best for last and KU will come alive against the Tar Heels. If anything, the shooting can't get much worse.
The Kansas Jayhawks are headed to the Elite 8, but your bracket might not have had them, or any of the other remaining teams, advancing this far. If you've nailed the Elite 8, congrats, you're likely going to win your bracket pool. If not, then you likely need a new, clean bracket as the Elite 8 is set to begin on Saturday -- and the gold folks over at SB Nation have you covered, with an up-to-date, printable bracket.
While the tournament currently lacks a true Cinderella, with three No. 1 seeds still remaining, there's still been some major upset along the way. Lest we forget, just a week ago not one, but two No. 15 seeds ousted No. 2 seeds on the first day of the tournament. That's enough to bust up most people's brackets -- including my own.
For more on all things March Madness, be sure to check out SB Nation's 2012 NCAA Basketball Tournament hub.
The regional finals are set for this weekend with each of the winners punching their tickets to the Final Four in New Orleans. On Saturday the West and East regions will be on display on Saturday with the Midwest and South finals on Sunday.
In the Midwest region Kansas was able to hold off a late N.C. State comeback to move on to the Elite Eight. On the other half of the bracket North Carolina advances by defeating No. 13 seed Ohio in overtime and did so without Kendall Marshall
In the West region Louisville advance from the Sweet 16 round by upsetting No. 1 seed Michigan State on Thursday night and Florida moved on by defeating No. 3 seed Marquette. Out in the East region Syracuse is still alive even though they do not have Fab Melo and they made it to the regional final by squeaking past Wisconsin by one point. Ohio State advanced by crushing No. 6 seed Cincinnati.
In the South region top-seeded Kentucky got revenge against Indiana, while Baylor moved on beating No. 10 seeded Xavier.
Here is the regional finals schedule:
The Kansas Jayhawks are advancing to the Elite Eight after defeating the N.C. State Wolfpack 60-57. The game was not an easy victory for Kansas as they started the game off slow trailed 13-3 early on and then 33-32 at the half.
The No. 2 seeded Kansas Jayhawks started slow against the No. 11 seed N.C. State Wolfpack and trailed 13-3 to start the game. Kansas did comeback to tie the game at 17 apiece and even led by as many as six at 23-17. N.C. State was able to comeback and lead 33-32 at the break.
Neither team is shooting well as both are shooting in the 30 percent range, but Kansas has been cold from three-point range as they have missed all eight from beyond the arc. N.C. State has made 4-of-9 from three-point range and that is how they are leading Kansas at halftime.
C.J. Leslie is leading N.C. State with 12 points and Thomas Robinson is leading Kansas with 11 points and nine rebounds then there is Kansas center Jeff Withey who has been a defensive force with six blocks.
The No. 2 Kansas Jayhawks head to St. Louis on Friday night to face the No. 11 ranked N.C. State Wolfpack. They head into this game favored but they're coming off a pretty big scare from the last round when they barely escaped the Purdue Boilermakers in a 63-60 win. Purdue threw Kansas for a loop by playing an unconventional style in which they sometimes had five guards on the court, running a motion offense.
The Jayhawks are looking forward to this matchup as it's a return to normalcy. NC State isn't expected to run any weird offenses or match up guards up against post players. Instead they're going to play right into the Jayhawks' hands by playing normal, boring basketball.
"We got guards on guards, bigs on bigs, so it matches up evenly," Kansas guard Travis Releford said.
However, NC State won't let the Jayhawks roll over them. Even if they are matched up evenly, there are some talented players on this Wolf Pack team.
"The challenge for Kansas is: N.C. State is a team that can beat you at all five positions offensively," said analyst and former coach Fran Fraschilla. "There’s no one player to key on. The entire starting lineup at various times during the year has proven to be dangerous."
NC State has defeated San Diego State and Georgetown to get to this point in the tournament, and while they're extremely talented, Fraschilla also believes that the Wolf Pack, especially the post players, may have trouble matching up against the Jayhawks down low.
"N.C. State has two good inside players. But are they going to be able to score over Robinson and Withey?" Fraschilla said. "Can they contain Tyshawn Taylor and Elijah Johnson? The way Johnson has been playing lately, this is one of the best backcourts in the country right now."
Kansas may have their hands full with an extremely talented Wolf Pack team late on Friday night in their quest to get to the Elite 8, but they should be relieved to know that NC State won't throw an unorthodox lineup at them in St. Louis, that is unless they learned a lesson from Purdue.
The Kansas Jayhawks continue play in the 2012 NCAA Tournament against NC State in the Sweet 16.