College Hoops Player of the Day for Sunday, March 18, 2012
In the search for the tournament's most broken bracket, the Midwest region comes up a winner and it could have been worse had Purdue been able to hang on against 2nd-seeded Kansas Sunday night.
While the Jayhawks moved onto the Sweet 16, as did #1 seed North Carolina, the middle of the bracket became a mess as #11 NC State stopped #3 Georgetown and #13 Ohio prevailed over the 12 seed from South Florida. While the Bobcats may be accused of bottom-feeding, they still managed a to make the round of 16, no mean feat for a school from the Mid-America conference, whose teams are supposed to genuflect and gently give way to teams from the power conferences.
Ohio may be a small school without much of a basketball pedigree, in sharp contrast to their upcoming opponent, North Carolina, a programs whose legendary players and coaches - like Michael Jordan and Dean Smith - fill the record books and are woven into the fabric of March Madness.
What the Bobcats do have is a sound back court, a small detail that may come in handy against the Tar Heels, who may be without point guard Kendall Marshall in their upcoming meeting (Friday, March 23, 7:47 pm, TBS) after Marshall suffered a fractured bone in his right wrist in the Tar Heels' win over Creighton.
In Ohio's 62-56 triumph over South Florida, the champions of the Mid-America conference were led by their back court duo of Walter Offett and DJ Cooper, who scored 21 and 19 points, respectively. Offett was 7-for-9 from the field, 4-for-4 on three-pointers and had three rebounds and four steals. Cooper was 7-for-9 from the foul line, with seven assists, six rebounds and a pair of steals.
With a pair of guards with that kind of capability, Ohio is a threat whenever and wherever they play. North Carolina had better not be looking past the surprising Bobcats.