North Carolina, with Kendall Marshall at point guard, is a better team than Kansas. But unlike football, college basketball isn't theoretical. Voters don't decide who is better. Players and coaches do. Kansas was better Sunday. In no way was the victory tainted.
The Tar Heels were outrebounded 41-35. What difference would Marshall have made there?
Even without Marshall, who is a great college point guard, the Tar Heels could have won. But they needed a star. Somebody had to say, this game is mine. Somebody had to impose himself on the outcome. Somebody had to lead.
The obvious candidate was North Carolina forward Harrison Barnes, and Barnes failed.
Barnes has devolved into a jump shooter. He has an array of moves that enable him to get his shot off, but few that enable him to get to the basket.
Why not at least try? Why not attack? Why not surprise the man (men) guarding him by going to the hoop and at least theoretically drawing a foul?
Barnes was content to shoot from outside, and except for one first-half flurry, his shot wasn't going in. As fluid as he is, he's frustrating to watch.
Everybody praises N.C. State for making the Sweet 16 and rips the Tar Heels for failing to make the FInal Four.
That's because North Carolina has veteran, tested, Final Four talent.
All the season North Carolina seemed destined for the Final Four. But there is no destiny. There is opportunity. The Tar Heels failed to take advantage of theirs.