Ohio Bobcats vs. North Carolina Tar Heels
7:47 PM ET, March 23, 2012
Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis, MO
The #13 seeded Ohio Bobcats will face their hardest adversary to date, the #1 North Carolina Tar Heels in the game that might take them to uncharted territories. Not only would this be the schools biggest win, but also, the first time they make the Elite 8… ever. The Tar Heels are dealing with some bad news on their side; starting guard Kendall Marshall broke his wrist during their win over Creighton in the final minutes of the second half. He is a big player for their squad, averaging 9 assists a game in almost 33 minutes of play. This is a crack in the door for the Bobcats who must play smart but will have a limited Tar Heel team on the assists side.
The Ohio Bobcats have made a name for themselves this season by losing only 6 games all year. They have beat big teams to get to where they are now – including taking care of #4 Michigan and #12 South Florida. They have been a Cinderella team the entire way being an underdog in both games – they have found a way to play together better than most other teams. Led by D.J. Cooper, who averages 14.9 points and 5.7 assists a game while playing 32.1 minutes; he is also known for his crafty defense. He will certainly need it, as North Carolina is lead by Harrison Barnes, who seems to be on a straight shot for the NBA. He averages 17.3 points in 28.8 minutes, while forward Tyler Zeller averages 16.4 points in 27.7 minutes of play
Defense and calm play will be key to the Ohio team. They are under-sized and out pushed but they know that position and they like it. They have proven themselves twice before. The Tar Heels better not underestimate this team, because they could be left with a long trip home. I must admit, after watching the Tar Heels play, it is very difficult to think that a Cinderella team could disrupt them to that point. They will have to be calm and calculating, looking for the extra pass. And they have to not get too confident on any leads they may get, no matter how big.