4:15 p.m. Sunday at the Sprint Center
CBS; KCSP (610 AM)
Kansas coach Bill Self is attempting to win his 300th game at Kansas against Roy Williams, the man he replaced. But more importantly, the Jayhawks are attempting to return to the Sweet 16 while finishing 8-0 at the Sprint Center this season. Kansas freshman guard Ben McLemore struggled to get going on Friday against Western Kentucky in his first NCAA Tournament game. He’ll likely be guarded by North Carolina’s Reggie Bullock, and McLemore is hoping to get back on track. “It’s just my first time on the bigger stage,” he said. The Jayhawks have been to the Sweet 16 in two straight years and in five of their last six tournament appearances. Self is 3-1 all-time against Williams, including a 1-1 record while Self was at Illinois.
It’s been a season-long theme, but North Carolina is in position to advance back to the Sweet 16 after losing a team of NBA first-round picks off last year’s squad. The biggest reason: The Tar Heels went small at midseason — with forward James Michael McAdoo as the lone big guy in the starting lineup — and the victories followed. Last season, the Tar Heels fell 80-67 to Kansas in the Elite Eight in St. Louis. North Carolina, which has advanced to the Sweet 16 in 23 of its last 29 tourney appearances, holds a 6-4 all-time advantage over the Jayhawks. The first meeting between the schools also came in Kansas City. North Carolina defeated Kansas 54-53 in triple-overtime in the 1957 NCAA title game at Municipal Auditorium.
Self’s Kansas teams are 2-0 against North Carolina because they have been tougher and better on the defensive end. If the Jayhawks want to make it 3-0, they’ll have to guard the three-point line and batter the Tar Heels inside.