As of Sunday, March 24, 2013
© Copyright 2013
Gwinnett Daily Post
Preview: North Carolina vs. Kansas
North Carolina players presented head coach Roy Williams with a special jersey following Friday's NCAA Tournament win, marking Williams' 700th career victory. A win in the Round of 32 against Kansas - which reached the Final Four on four occasions under Williams - would be even more meaningful. If the Tar Heels needed more motivation, Kansas is the team that ended their 2012 run with a 80-67 victory in the Midwest Regional final - the second straight year the Tar Heels have fallen just short of the Final Four.
Neither team was particularly impressive in winning its South Region opener. The top-seeded Jayhawks were pushed hard by Western Kentucky before surviving 64-57, while the No. 8 Tar Heels lost a 20-point lead but held off Villanova 78-71. The winner may be determined when North Carolina has possession: the Tar Heels are 14th nationally in scoring, while the Jayhawks lead the country in opposing field-goal percentage and rank second in blocks.
TV: 5:15 p.m. ET, CBS.
ABOUT NORTH CAROLINA (25-10): The Tar Heels have won nine of their past 11, with a balanced offensive attack sparking North Carolina's late-season surge. Sophomore guard P.J. Hairston scored a team-high 23 points Friday. Sophomore forward James Michael McAdoo (14.5 points), Hairston (14.5) and junior forward Reggie Bullock (14.2) have combined to lead North Carolina in scoring 28 times this season.
ABOUT KANSAS (30-5): Jeff Withey has been one of the best big men in the NCAA this season, and Friday's tournament opener was no exception. The 7-0 senior center scored 17 points and blocked seven shots in the narrow victory. Withey ranks second in the nation in blocks per game (3.8) while averaging 8.4 rebounds. The Jayhawks are the first team in Division I history to win 30 games or more in four consecutive seasons.
North Carolina has won 25 games six times in the past eight seasons.
The Jayhawks are in the NCAA Tournament for the 24th consecutive season, the longest active streak in the country.
Williams will coach against his former school in the NCAA Tournament for the third time. The Jayhawks beat North Carolina last season and in the 2008 Final Four.
PREDICTION: Kansas 64, North Carolina 62