The Heels inched by Ohio to reach the Elite Eight without Kendall Marshall, but they won't be as fortunate against Kansas if their PG can't play.
Marshall is still listed as questionable for Sunday's game, and his health is the biggest topic of conversation in regard to Tar Heels hoops. Rightfully so, as there are so many things he adds to the team, and moving forward isn't likely without him.
The Heels don't have anyone who can pick up the slack for Marshall in the following categories:
The Heels turned the ball over 24 times against Ohio. There is no way they can duplicate that kind of carelessness with the ball against a team like Kansas and win. If Marshall were on the floor, this total would be nowhere near as high.
The 24 miscues were twice the number that the Heels averaged through the season, and Marshall's presence is a direct affect on that number.
Kansas watched the tape for sure, and you can bet that if Marshall isn't playing, they will crank up the pressure.
If Marshall doesn't play, what will the outcome be?
In the two tournament games Marshall played, he was 12-of-15 from the field. Through the season, he's a 35 percent three-point shooter. In his stead, Stilman White was 0-of-4 from the field with just two points. The Heels' bigs took up much, if not all, of that slack.
Against Kansas, the Jayhawks have a few frontcourt players that may make life a little tougher for the Heels than the Bobcats did.
Jeff Withey swatted 10 shots against NC State, and Thomas Robinson is, well, Thomas Robinson—a National Player of the Year candidate and a walking double-double.
Against Ohio, Tyler Zeller and John Henson destroyed Ohio on the inside. They outplayed Ivo Baltic and John Smith with these totals: 34 points and 32 rebounds to four points and nine rebounds. You can bet that won't happen against Kansas.
The Heels' perimeter players are going to have to be heard from, even beyond Harrison Barnes on the wing. I don't think White and Bullock can produce the type of performances necessary.
UNC desperately needs Marshall to play to win.