North Carolina-Ohio observations

March 23, 2012 

• North Carolina’s team defense is overlooked, and often underrated, because of its ability to score but the Tar Heels were either thoroughly confused in the second half by Ohio’s intentions or they read the wrong scouting report.

North Carolina kept collapsing inside on Ohio’s big men, despite the fact that shot-blocking force John Henson didn’t need any help. Every time North Carolina helped inside, Ohio kicked the ball out for a 3-pointer.

Mainly because of the open looks, the Bobcats made eight 3-pointers in the second half, after making only four in the first.

• After a big first half, 11 points and nine rebounds, North Carolina forward Tyler Zeller spent much of the second half in frustration at both North Carolina’s inability to get him the ball and all the contact he was drawing from Ohio’s smaller defenders.

Zeller, the ACC player of the year, still fought through the double-teams, and the extra contact for 20 points and 22 rebounds. The first 20-20 game in the NCAA tournament since Tim Duncan did it for Wake Forest in 1997.

• UNC’s Harrison Barnes struggled last season without point guard Kendall Marshall, and did so again on Friday with Marshall on the bench with a wrist injury. Barnes turned the ball over four times and shot just 3 of 16 from the floor.

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