North Carolina, Kentucky and Connecticut are the front-runners for this year’s title. All three are loaded with future NBA players at every position, feature long, intimidating defenders down low and elite scorers.
Know what else they have in common? A lack of point-guard depth.
The news of Ryan Boatright’s suspension leaves UConn with only sophomore Shabazz Napier as a reliable option. It’s unclear when Boatright will return, but coach Jim Calhoun doesn’t seem to be taking any chances. Jeremy Lamb played some point during the Huskies’ exhibition rout Wednesday night.
But having Boatright is almost a luxury compared to the Heels and Wildcats.
Every team wishes for an injury-free season, but some pray that key players avoid any and all speed bumps. Kendall Marshall and Marquis Teague are prime examples.
Marshall’s the man for UNC, and pretty much the only man. That’s not really a reflection of the Heels’ guard depth so much as what goes into running Roy Williams’ offense. Larry Drew II couldn’t cut it. No one else on the roster is more than a placeholder for when Marshall needs a breather.
Same goes for Teague. He’s the latest freshman point guard John Calipari’s relied on. All of them have thrived. Teague should do the same, if Wednesday’s exhibition was any indication. The ‘Cats have other guards who could do in small spurts, but Teague’s the guy who’ll make that offense go.
If either suffers a serious injury … well, that’s not a pleasant thought for either fan base.
None of this is news, or even that radical. But it’s reality. And if you’re looking for anything that could derail any of these loaded teams on their way to the Final Four, this is it.
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