Posted March 17, 2012 on AP on Fox
As Harrison Barnes and Doug McDermott won state championships together as high school teammates in Iowa, Barnes became one of the nation's top recruits while McDermott was the overlooked teammate. They'll take the court on opposite sides Sunday - Barnes for North Carolina, McDermott for Creighton - with a trip to the NCAA tournament's round of 16 at stake. ''It's crazy how far both of us have come,'' McDermott said Saturday. ''I would've never guessed we'd be playing against each other on such a big stage.'' Nor would most people have guessed in the preseason that it would be McDermott, not Barnes, capturing the most attention as a prolific scorer driving his team's attack. Barnes said he noticed the possible matchup with his former Ames High School teammate as soon as the NCAA brackets were released. ''I think probably the state of Iowa will all watch,'' Barnes quipped. McDermott, a 6-foot-7 sophomore, is averaging 23 points and eight rebounds per game for the eighth-seeded Bluejays (29-5). He's an All-America candidate who helped the Missouri Valley Conference program to its first NCAA tournament victory in 10 years on Friday against Alabama. McDermott paces a potent offense that averages 79 points and leads the country in shooting at 50.7 percent. Barnes, a 6-8 sophomore, is leading the top-seeded Tar Heels (30-5) in scoring at 17 per game. But he hasn't been the always-dominant player that many expected when he arrived in Chapel Hill, often content to blend in with talented teammates such as Tyler Zeller and John Henson. McDermott and Barnes said they kept in contact all season, primarily through text messages. While Barnes said he didn't think he'd match up much with McDermott on the court Sunday, it's clear their story line is a big focus in the Midwest Regional. The Greensboro Coliseum scoreboard showed a split-screen image from the broadcast feed of McDermott in the stands and Barnes on the bench Friday during the Tar Heels' win against Vermont. McDermott teamed with Barnes to help Ames go 53-0 and win two state titles in their last two years together. McDermott often chauffeured Barnes around back then because the latter didn't have his driver's license. Barnes was one of the nation's most sought-after recruits. He drew a constant stream of big-name coaches to Ames games, which McDermott said made the rest of the players up their intensity to play even better. North Carolina coach Roy Williams personally made 11 trips in a two-year span to recruit Barnes. ''I don't think Doug was overlooked, I really don't,'' Williams said. ''I think he was a guy that just keeps getting better and better and he has grown taller and stronger and he's gotten better in every phase of the game.'' McDermott scored 44 points on 18-for-23 shooting in a win over Bradley in January, and he's scored at least 30 six times this season. He's shooting 57 percent overall and 45 percent from 3-point range. Creighton coach Greg McDermott, Doug's father, said Barnes' work ethic was unlike any he had ever seen in a high school player and that it rubbed off on his son. Barnes took note of how hard McDermott worked on his jumper. ''I wasn't necessarily the best shooter on the team, so I kind of looked at him for that,'' Barnes said. ''And he probably saw the way I came in the gym and worked out and did certain things like that. ... So I think we both kind of fed off each other.'' Barnes had a 40-point game as a freshman, but his season high is 27 against Texas in December. ''When a player's in the spotlight for a long time, there's so much more time to critique him,'' UNC point guard Kendall Marshall said. ''I think that's something that's happened with Harrison. He's playing better than last year. He's defending better, he's rebounding better. So I don't know if people want him to average 20 (points) and 20 (rebounds) on an undefeated team, but it's not going to happen when you have as many great players as we have.'' Of course, the Tar Heels still don't know whether they'll have their full lineup Sunday. Henson - a 6-10 forward averaging 14 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks - is still questionable to play due to a sprained left wrist sustained during the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament. Henson has missed the past three games. North Carolina will again have the benefit of playing in front of a home-state crowd about an hour west of the Chapel Hill campus. The Tar Heels are 30-1 in NCAA games in their home state. ''We're feeling the pressure. This isn't a picnic, this isn't a vacation, this isn't take pictures of me on the floor with North Carolina,''' Greg McDermott said. ''This is we're coming to try to win this game. And I think our guys, if we're going to go down, we'll go down swinging.''
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Barnes, McDermott reunite in Midwest Regional game

As Harrison Barnes and Doug McDermott won state championships together as high school teammates in Iowa, Barnes became one of the nation's top recruits while McDermott was the overlooked teammate. They'll take the court on opposite sides Sunday - Barnes for North Carolina, McDermott for Creighton - with a trip to the NCAA tournament's round of 16 at stake. ''...

High School Teammates Meet In NCAA Tournament: Doug McDermott & Harrison Barnes

They were teammates in high school in Ames, Iowa who went their separate ways. Harrison Barnes of North Carolina and Doug McDermott of Crighton.As Ames High School teammates the pair led the Little Cyclones to a pair of undefeated seasons.Barnes was the top high school recruit in the country, McDermott was on high way to Northern Iowa but ended up at Creighton where his dad is the...

McDermott helps lift Creighton over Alabama

GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) -- Creighton's drought in the NCAA tournament is over. Doug McDermott scored 16 points and the Bluejays overcame an 11-point deficit in the second half to beat Alabama 58-57 Friday for their first tournament victory in 10 years. Alabama had a chance to win during the frantic final seconds, but Josh Jones blocked Trevor Releford's 3-point attempt from...

Alabama bows out to Creighton

GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) -- Doug McDermott scored 16 points and Creighton overcame an 11-point deficit in the second half to beat Alabama 58-57 Friday for its first NCAA tournament victory in 10 years. Alabama had a chance to win during the frantic final seconds, but Josh Jones blocked Trevor Releford's 3-point attempt from the top of the key as time expired. McDermott, the MVP...

Creighton escapes with win over 'Bama

Creighton's drought in the NCAA tournament is over. Doug McDermott scored 16 points and the Bluejays overcame an 11-point deficit in the second half to beat Alabama 58-57 Friday for their first tournament victory in 10 years. Alabama had a chance to win during the frantic final seconds, but Josh Jones blocked Trevor Releford's 3-point attempt from the top of the key as...

Bluejays fall to Tar Heels 87-73 in NCAAs

Doug McDermott and Creighton are comfortable playing a quick pace with plenty of shots. The Bluejays just couldn't keep up with North Carolina's fast start. The top-seeded Tar Heels hit 14 of 19 shots to open the game and build a double-digit lead in an 87-73 win in the third round of the NCAA tournament. North Carolina led by 15 in the first half and pushed it to 19 after...

NCAA Sat.: CU PC (w/audio)

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Inside Carolina's Saturday press conference coverage includes quotes and audio from Creighton head coach Greg McDermott, Doug McDermott, Jahenns Manigat and Grant Gibbs, who spoke to the media at the Greensboro Coliseum.

Creighton rolled by North Carolina in NCAAs

GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) -- Doug McDermott and Creighton are comfortable playing a quick pace with plenty of shots. The Bluejays just couldn't keep up with North Carolina's fast start. The top-seeded Tar Heels hit 14 of 19 shots to open the game and build a double-digit lead in an 87-73 win in the third round of the NCAA tournament. North Carolina led by 15 in the first half...

Creighton looks to pull upset, get over hump

GREENSBORO, N.C. --- Creighton has been in this situation before, but it hasn't yet gotten over the hump like many of its Missouri Valley brethren. Sunday marks the seventh time in Bluejays history they will stand at the doorstep of the Sweet 16 without yet crossing the threshold. In its way, the Tar Heels of North Carolina in a game that will be played about 60 miles from...

North Carolina-Creighton Preview: Analysis, Prediction, Date and TV Tip Time, Point Spread, and Tickets

There are 16 “Round of 32″ games on Saturday and Sunday as the most exciting weekend of the sports calendar continues. As we always do every March here at MSF, we try to cover you with previews, informed and reasoned predictions, and pertinent viewing info as soon as we can get it posted. In this post, we preview the much-anticipated Midwest Region second round matchup between...

NCAA Tournament 3rd round Sunday’s Predictions

Midwest North Carolina/ Creighton – North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes and Creighton’s Doug McDermott played on the same high school team. Wow, that must of have been one heck of a high school basketball team. If you like offensive basketball this is a game you need to watch as both teams average over 80 points per game. UNC’s one weakness is defending the three...

The Dancing Continues.......

OK so we missed a few yesterday. South Dakota State let us down and Colorado kept the Pac-12 alive. Here's how we see Friday's NCAA Tournament second round games.East Region:#6 Cincinnati vs #11 Texas: Don't know what to make of Texas this year. The 'Horns are in but the Bearcats are a better team. Texas will have a short stay.Cincinnati 64, Texas 51#3 Florida...
College Basketball News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.