College basketball notes: Tar Heels' Marshall has cast removed but status still unclear

March 22, 2012 

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Two days after North Carolina sophomore point guard Kendall Marshall underwent surgery to repair a broken bone in his right wrist, doctors removed his cast on Wednesday. It remains unclear whether Marshall will play on Friday night, when the Tar Heels face Ohio in the NCAA Tournament Midwest Regional semifinals.

Despite the uncertainty, Marshall wrote a cheerful tweet after his procedure.

"Cast off!" Marshall wrote on his Twitter account.

UNC spokesman Matt Bowers said that Marshall's status remained the same.

"His post-surgery cast is off, but he was fitted with a splint that he's wearing now."

Marshall suffered his injury during UNC's 87-73 victory against Creighton on Sunday in the third round of the NCAA Tournament. He drove to the basket with about 11 minutes to play in that game, and endured a hard foul. Marshall fell to the court and braced his impact with his right hand.

If Marshall is unable to play, the Tar Heels would rely on Stilman White and Justin Watts to fill the void at point guard. Combined, Watts and White have averaged about 11 minutes per game.

UK women to face Gonzaga

Kentucky will play Gonzaga at about 7 p.m. Sunday on ESPN2 in the second game of a doubleheader in the Kingston (R.I.) Regional of the Women's NCAA Tournament. Connecticut and Penn State will face off in the first game at 4:34 p.m.

If the Kentucky men beat Indiana on Friday they will play at 2:10 p.m. or 4:55 p.m. Sunday on CBS (Channel 27).

Bellarmine advances

Chris Dowe had 24 points and 12 rebounds, and Bellarmine beat Alabama-Huntsville 82-73 to reach the NCAA men's Division II final four in Highland Heights. Bellarmine (29-3), which overcame a 41-32 halftime deficit, will play Montevallo, Ala. (28-7) on Thursday. Stonehill (Mass.) plays Western Washington in the other semifinal. The championship game is Saturday.

Jeremy Kendle added four three-pointers and scored 23 points for Bellarmine.

ISU's White turns pro

AMES, Iowa — Iowa State sophomore forward Royce White says he's leaving the school after playing one season and declaring for the NBA Draft. White, the Big 12's Newcomer of the Year, said at a news conference Wednesday that he intended to sign with an agent soon. The 6-8, 270-pound forward from Minneapolis led the Cyclones with 13.4 points and 9.3 rebounds a game this season and helped Iowa State reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time in seven years.

White had 23 points and nine rebounds in an 87-71 loss to top-seeded Kentucky on Saturday.

Strong and physical, White was also at times Iowa State's best ball-handler. White was the rare big man who could take his defender off the dribble and attack the basket, which helped him become the only player in the country to lead his team in points, rebounds, steals, assists and blocks.

Smart turns down Illinois

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Virginia Commonwealth Coach Shaka Smart on Wednesday ended speculation that he might take the open job at Illinois by announcing that he'll stay with the Rams. The decision by the young coach was cause for celebration among VCU fans and disappointment for their Illini counterparts — Illinois' search for a replacement for fired coach Bruce Weber has begun to resemble the search last year for a new football coach, when the school's top choices reportedly turned down the Illini.

VCU said in a news release that Smart's $1.2 million contract will be adjusted, but provided no details.

Neither school would say how much money Illinois offered Smart.

Tubby goes to NIT's final 4

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Rodney Williams and Andre Hollins each scored 24 points to help Minnesota advance to the semifinals of the NIT with a 78-72 win over Middle Tennessee on Wednesday night. Elliott Eliason added 12 points and seven rebounds for Minnesota, while Hollins also had six rebounds and four assists.

Marcos Knight led Middle Tennessee (27-7) with 19 points and nine rebounds.

Minnesota (22-14), coached by former Kentucky coach Tubby Smith, will face Pac-12 regular-season champion Washington at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday. It will mark the Gophers' first appearance in the NIT semis since 2003.

Tarkanian stays in hospital

LAS VEGAS — Doctors at a Las Vegas hospital decided to keep storied former UNLV basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian overnight Wednesday for observation after a mild heart attack, despite originally planning to release him, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Mountainview Hospital spokeswoman Amanda Powell said Tarkanian's status had not changed despite the change in plans. She said he is still doing "very well."

Powell declined to give further details.

Son Danny Tarkanian, who planned to visit his father Wednesday evening, said his father is in the hospital's intensive care unit receiving oxygen. The 81-year-old former coach was having trouble with his oxygen levels and was being tested for pneumonia or other conditions, Danny Tarkanian said.

Danny Tarkanian said his sister, a nurse, was by their father's side and optimistic.

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