#13 Ohio Bobcats (29-7) vs #1 North Carolina Tar Heels (31-5)
Friday March 23
Midwest Region - St. Louis, MO
Moneyline: No money line currently listed
Spread: North Carolina -10.5
The Ohio Bobcats are the least likely of the Ohio based teams to make it to the Sweet Sixteen. I am totally rooting for these guys but I think it is fair to say that their path to get to this point has been less than torturous. To continue their magical run to the Elite Eight they are going to have to get by big bad North Carolina. There is no quit in the Bobcats and they will probably have a nice run sometime Friday night but this is going to be a really tough game for them.
Is any player more important in the Sweet Sixteen than Ohio guard D.J. Cooper? This week stories are coming out how big programs tried to poach this player away a couple of years ago and it is easy to see why. Cooper may be just 5’11 but he is the heart of this team and the one player who seems completely unafraid of the big stage. He has gotten help which is why they are here this week, but without him they wouldn’t be representing the MAC right now.
I can’t remember an injury being of such concern in the NCAA tournament. All we are hearing about right now is point guard Kendall Marshall and how his presence or absence will influence the Tar Heels championship chances. He might not be their best player but as the engine that makes them go he might be their most valuable. I don’t know how he can have surgery and suit up 4 days later.
And the Heels has just seemingly recovered from the injury to power forward John Henson. After sitting out the ACC Tournament and the first round game all Henson did was score 13 points with 10 boards and 4 blocks in the win against Creighton. Henson is a very good player but at least they had some reasonable backups for him. If Marshall is out this weekend will the Tar Heels really lose to Ohio. It seems too unbelievable to me.
Spread Pick: Ohio +10.5
O/U Pick: Under
Score Prediction: North Carolina 71 - Ohio 63
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