Photo: Wikimedia Commons
North Carolina point guard Kendall Marshall broke his wrist in yesterday’s win over Creighton, and his status is uncertain for the rest of the NCAA Tournament.UNC is still one of the five most talented teams in the country without Marshall, but the college basketball world all but wrote off their chances of winning a title when the news broke yesterday.
Why are they so doom-and-gloomy?
Marshall is UNC’s most important player. He facilitates the offence in the half court — doing the tricky task of getting all of the Tar Heels’ big stars enough shots. More importantly, he is pivotal to the fast-break transition game that makes UNC the most explosive offensive team in the country.
If the Tar Heels can’t run the break — especially against a team with tough half-court defence — then their entire team changes.
BUT, there is reason for optimism if you are a Tar Heels fan (or if you picked them in your bracket).
Even without Marshall, UNC has three lottery picks. They have enough individual talent with Harrison Barnes, John Henson, and Tyler Zeller that they should be able to score even without Kendall running the point.
Their road to the Final Four is also relatively easy. They have a gimme game against 13th-seeded Ohio before playing either NC State or Kansas in the regional final. UNC won’t play a dominant defensive team in the half-court until the Final Four, at which point either a) Marshall will be back, or b) the Heels will have had two weeks to figure out how to play without him.
Here’s the (dirty?) play that broke his wrist:
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