Originally posted on Fox Sports South  |  Last updated 3/23/12
North Carolina's biggest fear of what life without Kendall Marshall would look like nearly became reality, as the Tar Heels were awful but still managed to advance past Ohio in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. Stilman White wasn't a disaster like some expected, but more the effect of not having Marshall was seen in how the other Heels played. They rushed shots, perhaps trying to play too fast to make up for Marshall not being available, and slowly went away from the kind of rhythm they should have exhibited. Carolina's 73-65 overtime victory advances it to the Elite 8 for the sixth time under Roy Williams, who returned to Chapel Hill before the 2003-04 season. UNC improved to 32-5 while Ohio finished its season at 29-8. Here are both teams' grades for their performances Friday night: Ohio offense: The Bobcats had little inside game and were forced to make shots, but only did so 32.5 percent of the time, though they were a respectable 37.5 on 3-pointers. Leading scorer D.J. Cooper had a rough night, finishing with just 10 points on 3-for-20 shooting. UNC had a lot to do with that. Grade: D. UNC offense: Stilman White (6 assists, no turnovers) didn't hurt UNC but he's not Marshall, and running the offense closer to the top of the key changed some of the spacing the Heels had grown accustomed to, and the residual effect resulted in a terribly ugly offensive performance. UNC converted 40.6 percent from the floor, including 31.8 percent from beyond the arc. Harrison Barnes played as if he was wearing ankle weights, the bigs too often received entry passes further away from the basket than usual. Grade: D. Ohio defense: The Bobcats recognized that Roy Williams didn't want White to shoot so they backed off and it made rotating, helping out and dropping down to double and triple the bigs much easier. They also did a nice job not letting Tyler Zeller and John Henson get comfortable entries. Grade: B. UNC defense: The Tar Heels had a few poor stretches but overall did a pretty nice job. They forced Ohio's best player into one of the worst games of his career and clamped down in overtime. White was much better than a lot of people anticipated he would play, and he can build on his game defensively perhaps more than offensively. Roy Williams moving Bullock to defend Cooper late was a big-time piece of coaching. Grade: B. Ohio intangibles: The Bobcats played really hard, didn't wilt when UNC jumped out to a big early lead and finally got over the hump taking the lead and putting UNC on its heels, no pun intended. But Ohio couldn't hold a late lead and made some poor decisions in overtime. Grade: B. UNC intangibles: The Tar Heels played like they collectively were spun around a bunch of times just before tipoff and spent pretty much the next 45 game minutes trying to regain their balance. But UNC somehow found a way to win. Reggie Bullock made plays on both ends of the floor and Harrison Barnes made some big shots and free throws. UNC did win the rebounding battle 55-27. The Heels simply survived. Grade: D.
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