Mar 25, 2012; St. Louis, MO, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels forward Harrison Barnes (40) controls the ball as Kansas Jayhawks guard Travis Releford (24) defends during the first half of the finals of the midwest region of the 2012 NCAA men

NCAA Tournament: North Carolina vs. Kansas Preview

There was a slim chance last night as we watch Kansas and Western Kentucky play, that WKU was going to come out on top. Then the second half had to be played and Kansas took charge by a few points to come away with the win in the end.

The Tar Heels find themselves in uncharted waters today. They not only have to play Kansas, but have to play Kansas in Kansas City. Nor does North Carolina have experience as the underdog. It’s a situation they are not used to playing in on the tournament stage. They do have experience as the underdog though this season when they played Miami, NC State and Duke.

That said, the North Carolina Tar Heels will have an Elite Eight rematch against the Kansas Jayhawks today. The last time these two met, Kansas upset the hurt and ailing Tar Heels (thanks to Creighton) to move on to the Final Four.

One thing on North Carolina’s side is that they outrank Kansas in points per game, rebounds per game, and assists per game. However, this is a tough Kansas team led by Ben McLemore who is averaging 16.4 points per game. A Kansas team that lost three straight games, but turned around an won ten of their final eleven games of the regular season.

Kansas is 30-5 overall and 14-4 in conference play. North Carolina is 25-10 overall with an ACC record of 12-6. Kansas on paper is the better team and very few people are expecting North Carolina to win.

North Carolina hopes that Kansas has a slow start today as they did on Friday that allowed Western Kentucky to keep up with them. If that is the case, North Carolina has a solid chance to upset Kansas.

Friday night’s game was ugly and sloppy, but it won Roy William’s his 700th career victory and got the team pumped up again. Can that excitement carry over?

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Tags: Kansas Jayhawks NCAA Tournament North Carolina Tar Heels

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