Kansas vs North Carolina Pick 2012 NCAA Tournament Elite 8 Preview
After watching North Carolina struggle without its starting point guard in the Regional Semifinals, can the Tar Heels get passed the Kansas Jayhawks and make it to the Final Four?
With Kendall Marshall sidelined with a broken wrist, UNC needed overtime in order to defeat a determined Ohio team, 73-65. With the lefty point-guard’s status for Sunday’s game uncertain, not many people are giving this team a chance to advance, including 2012 NCAA Tournament oddsmakers.
“I think we feel like we got away with one,” said North Carolina senior center, Tyler Zeller. “Hopefully we can have a better showing on Sunday.”
Kansas and North Carolina are scheduled to tip things off Sunday evening at 5:05 PM ET from Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, MO. 2012 NCAA Tournament Elite 8 Picks experts believe this will be the end of UNC’s run, listing the Jayhawks as -2½ favorites over the Tar Heels. In addition, the OVER/UNDER is set at a combined total of 143½ points.
In Marshall’s absence, sophomore, guard Reggie Bullock made 5 three-pointers to finish with a much-deeded double-double: 17 points and 10 rebounds. Bullock was instrumental in UNC taking control of the ballgame in the OT. Thanks to a 10-2 run in the extra session, the Heels were able to escape with the W.
But even though UNC coach Roy Williams admitted there was nothing pretty about this victory, finding a way to win despite being short-handed says a lot about his team. One win away from punching their ticket to the Big Easy, the Tar Heels will have to regroup quickly and get ready for what should be a much stiffer test in Kansas.
“When you go to the Sweet 16 it’s supposed to be a lot more fun than this,” Williams added. “We’re extremely pleased and we feel lucky. We feel like we’ve been in a battle. I feel like I’ve been in a battle.”
For Kansas, this team isn’t exactly coming off a game that would earn them any style points. Despite being ahead by 8 points in the final moments of the game, NC State went on a furious rally that ended with the final shot of the game with a chance to force OT. However, Richard Howell’s shot was not to be, as KU breathed a huge sigh of relief to see the junior forward miss.
“We didn’t shoot the ball really great. To get the win feels really good,” said Kansas junior (center) Jeff Withey. “It was all defense, and we’re dancing. We’re still in the NCAA tournament.”