Recap and Recovery: 5 Things We Learned in North Carolina's Win over Ohio

Tim KeeneyContributor IMarch 23, 2012

Recap and Recovery: 5 Things We Learned in North Carolina's Win over Ohio

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    The North Carolina Tar Heels survived an overtime scare from the Ohio Bobcats tonight and became the second No. 1 seed to advance to the Elite Eight.

    UNC won 73-65.

    It wasn't necessarily pretty, but the Heels survived to live another day and they will play Sunday against the winner of Kansas and North Carolina State.

    Here's a look at what we learned about the Kendall Marshall-less Tar Heels today.

Stilman White Can Hold His Own

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    The Heels struggled against Ohio, but it wasn't because of White.

    Subbing in for the injured Kendall Marshall, the youngster handled himself very well. White only scored two points, but that wasn't his job.

    He ran the offense quite well and racked up six assists versus zero turnovers (the only player on Carolina to not record multiple turnovers).

    What's more, White played very good defense. He was forced to guard Ohio's best player, D.J Cooper, and for most of the game White won the battle. Cooper shot just 3-for-20 (!) for 10 points and had four turnovers.

    Many were expecting a drop-off at point guard, but North Carolina is still a very good team if White continues to play like he did today.

But the Tar Heels Still Miss Kendall Marshall

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    Stilman White may have held his own and may have done what was asked of him, but there was still a missing dimension without Kendall Marshall.

    Marshall is known for his tremendous passing, but his ability to both penetrate and speed-up the tempo with ease is what is so important for this team.

    Without Marshall, the Heels struggled to open up anything on offense. Without his play-making skills, North Carolina's skill players had to create their own shots and had to play out of the half-court set more often.

    They certainly have guys who are comfortable doing that, but there were a lot more forced jumpers and fadeaways coming from North Carolina's side of the court. 

Harrison Barnes Needs to Be More Aggressive

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    Harrison Barnes showed what he is capable of during overtime, as he pretty much took over and led the Heels to a victory.

    He just needs to do that for the full game.

    Barnes finished the game with just 12 points on 3-for-16 shooting and he also had five turnovers. The sophomore needs to get far more aggressive and start taking the ball to the hoop more. He can't keep settling for jump shots. 

North Carolina Must Defend the Perimeter Better

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    Ohio shot 32 three-pointers, and a lot of those were wide open.

    The Bobcats made 12 of them at 37.5 percent which is right around average, but if they would have hit more of their open shots in the first half, Carolina wouldn't have been so lucky in this one.

    Roy Williams' teams always seem to struggle against the three-point shot, and that's going to have to change if UNC wants to make a run at a title this year.

    Luckily for the Tar Heels, neither Kansas nor NC State shoot too many threes, but they will if the Heels give them a ton of open looks like tonight. 

UNC Is Going to Have to Win Games on the Glass

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    The Tar Heels had 55 rebounds, which is more than double Ohio's 27. They had 16 offensive rebounds and Ohio just 21 defensive rebounds.

    Everyone knew about North Carolina's size advantage coming into this one, but those numbers are absolutely staggering. 

    North Carolina won't be able to get out in transition like they like without Marshall, which means they'll have to play in the half-court and have to rely on their tremendous frontcourt. 

    That means crashing the glass with reckless abandon. 

    The Heels were already good at this, but now they'll have to rely on it way, way, way, way, way, way (way) more.

    Essentially, they are a lot more like Michigan State now rather than North Carolina.