Yes, one is a 20-year-old point guard and the other is a 36-year-old quarterback, but North Carolina coach Roy Williams sees similarities between the two.
“It’s just one player, but I think this is the best example,” Williams said. “I understand the Indianapolis Colts were in the playoffs [in 2010], then they lose Peyton Manning, and they got the No. 1 pick in the draft [after going 2-14 in 2011 without Manning]. That’s how important Kendall is to us.”
Williams has a point.
Without Marshall, it took overtime for North Carolina to beat pesky Ohio in the Sweet 16, turning the ball over an astounding 24 times. Were it not for a clutch performance by guard Reggie Bullock, who went 5-for-10 from three-point range, we may have been looking at an Elite Eight Ohio team.
Point guard and quarterback are often analogous positions, but Williams may need to give more credit to his Tar Heels, as they are far from a team like the 2-14 Colts, but it’s difficult to deny the impact Marshall has when he’s on the floor.
He is perhaps a Top 3 point guard in the country, and his nearly 10 assists per game are part of what allows the Tar Heels to average over 80 points.
What are some other buzzwords? Basketball IQ. Court vision. Intuition. There’s the list.
Marshall status remains as questionable for North Carolina’s 5 p.m. tip with Kansas on Sunday.
As far as a matchup would go, were Marshall to play, Kansas’ Tyshawn Taylor has struggled in the NCAA tournament, including just 6 points and committing five turnovers in a win over NC State in the Sweet 16.