UNC Basketball

Obama's Bracket: Kendall Marshall Crucial to President's NCAA Tournament Picks

GREENSBORO, NC - MARCH 18:  Kendall Marshall #5 of the North Carolina Tar Heels reacts from the bench while taking on the Creighton Bluejays during the third round of the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Greensboro Coliseum on March 18, 2012 in Greensboro, North Carolina. Head coach Roy Williams of the Tar Heels announced that Marshall fractured his right wrist after he was fouled in the second half.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Josh MartinNBA Lead WriterMarch 25, 2012

The fate of President Barack Obama's NCAA Tournament bracket wrests all too precariously on the broken right wrist of North Carolina's Kendall Marshall.

Unfortunately for the POTUS, the star sophomore won't see the floor for the Tar Heels, whom Obama picked to win the national title, as they take on Kansas (i.e. Roy Williams' old stompin' grounds) on Sunday for the right to advance to the Final Four, per a report from InsideCarolina.com.

Not that the Heels' hopes for a trip to New Orleans need be ignored against the Jayhawks. Bill Self's squad has been fortunate to get this far, having overachieved all year despite an inconsistent backcourt and a paper-thin roster that features a walk-on (Connor Teahen) as the first guy off the bench.

KU has managed to get by on the strength of its rather menacing front line, with Player of the Year contender Thomas Robinson registering double-doubles in each of his three tourney games and Jeff Withey chipping in 10 blocks against North Carolina State on Friday.

Few teams in college basketball can contend with the size, strength and skill that Robinson and Withey provide.

One of those few teams: North Carolina. In fact, the combination of ACC Player of the Year Tyler Zeller and ACC Defensive Player of the Year John Henson might well be the best front court in college hoops, at the very least outside of Lexington.

In any case, Zeller and Henson should be able to neutralize Robinson and Withey for the most part, leaving Harrison Barnes, Reggie Bullock and Stilman White, Marshall's replacement, to match up with Elijah Johnson, Travis Releford and the volatile Tyshawn Taylor.

Of course, if Zeller and Henson are able to dominate as they did against Ohio (a combined 34 points and 32 rebounds), then Carolina might not need much at all from its guards.

But the Jayhawks are more than just different animals from the Bobcats; they're also a much better team.

One that isn't likely to let UNC so easily pound the ball into the post and allow Marshall's absence to be a non-factor.

And, in turn, one that may well bust the bracket of the Commander in Chief. 

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