Rapid Reaction: North Carolina Advances To Elite Eight in NCAA Tournament Classic

By
Grant Burkhardt

Dateline
Updated Sat, Mar 24, 2012 2:22 am
Photo Credit: 
Joel Hawksley/Ohio University Athletics
Dj Cooper's and-one gave Ohio a one-point lead with less than four minutes left. It was a lead the 'Cats couldn't hold onto, though. UNC won and advanced to the Elite 8.

Instant reaction from Ohio's 73-65 overtime loss in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament

- You just watched the best game of the tournament. By far.

- 26 points, four rebounds, two assists, 6-10 from 3-point range…Walter Offutt is a man's man. He single-handedly got Ohio back in the game. But his missed free throw with 15 seconds left in regulation - the only one Ohio missed in the entire game - will be remembered forever, even if Offutt did force Harrison Barnes into a turnover on UNC's last possession before overtime.

- Ohio was outrebounded 63-30. You read that statistic correctly.

- After trailing 26-11, it was tough not to write "Game Over?" in one's reporter notebook. These 'Cats had more faith than I, or every Bobcat fan on Twitter who was simply praying for "not a blowout." Ohio held North Carolina to three points over the first half's final 6:59 to close within seven at the break.

- It's easier said than done, but the 'Cats spent so much energy getting back into the game and forcing overtime that it had little left for the extra five minutes.

- All things considered, that's about as well as you can play defense on North Carolina's big men for 45 minutes.

- Dj Cooper suffered a woeful shooting game (3-20, 1-10 from 3-point range), but if his halfcourt heave as regulation expired had gone down, St. Louis would have exploded.

- Stilman White didn't do much, but he did play very well on the defensive end.

- Overtime goes very fast, and Ohio's three-ball chucking attitude didn't help matters.

- Ohio's crowd was so good it made a casual observer want to cry. Kansas and North Carolina State's sections joined in to make an incredibly pro-Ohio Edward Jones Dome. North Carolina's fans didn't wake up until there were eight minutes left in regulation. Ohio's even gave their pride of Bobcats a standing ovation as Stilman White dribbled out the clock, and most saluted their team with "Stand Up and Cheer" well after the game ended.

- Make no mistake, Ohio was every bit as good as North Carolina for the final 25 regulation minutes of the Sweet 16 clash. It just didn't have enough for the final five.

- With the showing it gave on one of the nation's biggest stages, voters won't forget Ohio when this year's postseason or next year's preseason AP poll is released.

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