North Carolina point guard Kendall Marshall watched his teammates from the side of the court, cradling a basketball and occasionally giving...
ST. LOUIS — North Carolina point guard Kendall Marshall watched his teammates from the side of the court, cradling a basketball and occasionally giving it a bounce or two with his good hand.
It might be the closest he gets to handling the ball for the Tar Heels.
Marshall said he would not be able to play if top-seeded North Carolina’s game were Thursday night because of his broken right wrist, and coach Roy Williams said he has a “strong, strong inclination” that his most important player will not be in the lineup for Friday’s game against 13th-seeded Ohio (29-7).
“I just know the kid tells me he can’t brush his teeth yet. How the dickens can he play a basketball game if he can’t brush his teeth?” Williams said Thursday.
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Marshall is averaging about eight points and 10 assists for the Tar Heels (31-5) in the Midwest Regional. He has scored in double figures for six straight games and has been the team’s most irreplaceable player at the helm of its fast-paced attack.
But he is not irreplaceable, Marshall said. If he is unable to play, freshman Stilman White or versatile senior Justin Watts would handle the point guard duties, and Marshall has spent the last two days encouraging them and giving them advice.
“Whether I’m playing or not, it’s not going to matter. Carolina basketball is still going to go on,” Marshall said. “They can be successful without me.”
Wildcats seek revenge
ATLANTA — Indiana’s Christian Watford said he has watched the ESPN commercial that shows his buzzer-beating three-pointer to beat Kentucky “a million times.”
Terrence Jones and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, two Kentucky players who were on the losing end of that Dec. 10 game, can’t turn off the television quick enough every time the promo appears.
“It’s everywhere,” Kidd-Gilchrist said.
The Wildcats (33-2), the No. 1 seed in the South Region, have been reluctant to use words like revenge or payback, but they clearly are eager for another chance against fourth-seeded Indiana (27-8) in Friday’s region semifinals after being bombarded with reminders of their only regular-season loss for more than three months.
After Kentucky closed the regular season with a victory at Florida on March 4, coach John Calipari said ESPN had “done one of the greatest services for my program by having that advertisement” and that every time his players see it “they just shake their heads. … (It) makes them mad.”
• Florida State is negotiating with representatives of coach Leonard Hamilton to extend his current deal, a person familiar with the situation said. Hamilton has been mentioned as a possible candidate for the Illinois job, but no school has contacted Florida State requesting permission to interview the coach, the person told The Associated Press.
• ESPN.com reported that Kentucky freshman Michael Kidd-Gilchrist will enter the NBA draft, according to multiple sources. The 6-foot-7 forward is averaging 11.8 points and 7.6 rebounds in 31.3 minutes per game.
• Villanova junior Maalik Wayns will forego his final season of eligibility and remain in the NBA draft. The 6-foot-2 guard led Villanova in scoring this season at 17.6 points and was a second-team All-Big East pick.
• Creighton sophomore Doug McDermott, the nation’s third-leading scorer at 22.9 points per game, says he’s not considering declaring for the draft this year.