South Region Third Round: #1 Kansas Jayhawks vs #8 North Carolina Tar Heels

2013 NCAA Tournament – South Region Third Round
#1 Kansas Jayhawks vs #8 North Carolina Tar Heels
Sunday, March 24, 2013, 5:15 pm Eastern, TV: CBS
Sprint Center – Kansas City, Missouri
Opening Line: Kansas -5 1/2
Current Line: Kansas -6 1/2
Opening Total: 141
Current Total: 144
Opening Money Line: Kansas -255 / North Carolina +215
Current Money Line: Kansas -305 / North Carolina +255

Kansas is a 6.5 point favorite against North Carolina in the South Third round Saturday in Kansas City.
Kansas is a 6.5 point favorite against North Carolina in the South Third round Saturday in Kansas City.

Though it seems like Kansas and North Carolina end up playing each other every year in the NCAA tournament, they have only played 6 times in the tournament. The two schools are second and third in total wins behind Kentucky. However, Kansas and North Carolina have only played 10 times total. The Tar Heels lead the series 6-4, but the Jayhawks have won the last two meetings. Kansas beat North Carolina in the 2008 Final Four and in the Midwest Regional Final last year 80-67 in St. Louis. Now, the #1 seed Kansas Jayhawks will play the #8 north Carolina Tar Heels in Kansas City Sunday. The winner will advance to the South Regional semifinals in Arlington, Texas next week to face the #4 Michigan Wolverines.

The 30-5 Jayhawks tied with Kansas St at 14-4 for the Big 12 regular season title. It was the 9th straight Big 12 title for Kansas. The Jayhawks would defeat Kansas St for the third time this season 70-54 in the Big 12 Championship also in Kansas City.

Kansas drew #16 seed Western Kentucky in the second round Friday. The Jayhawks got everything they could handle from the Hilltoppers. Western Kentucky was actually up 31-30 at halftime. Kansas would take an 11 point lead in the second half, but the Hilltoppers never gave up. The Hilltoppers pulled to within 59-55 with 24 seconds left, despite foul trouble to some of their bigs. However, Kansas made their free throws and escaped with a 64-57 win. No #16 seed has ever defeated a #1 seed.

The #8 seeded North Carolina Tar Heels  are 24-10 this season and were third in the ACC with a 12-6 record. The Tar Heels lost to regular season champ Miami 87-77 in Sunday’s ACC Championship game. North Carolina played #9 Villanova in the second round Friday. The Tar Heels built up a 20 point lead in the first half. However, the Wildcats fought back and tied it up. North Carolina hit three consecutive three pointers to take a 65-56 late in the game. Villanova fought back to 67-66 but North Carolina then went on a 9-2 run to take control of the game again with 42 seconds. left. The Tar Heels would hold on for the 78-71 win. It was the 700th win of coach Roy Williams career. Williams won 418 of those games at Kansas where he coached for 15 years.

Kansas is coached by Bill Self. The  losses for the Jayhawks this season came against Michigan St in Atlanta early in the season, at home against Oklahoma St, and at TCU, Oklahoma and Baylor. The Jayhawks have key wins over Washington St, Saint Louis, and Oregon St all in Kansas City, along with a road wins at Ohio St,  Texas Tech twice, Texas twice, Kansas St twice, West Virginia twice, and Oklahoma St and home wins over Colorado, Richmond, Temple, Iowa St, Baylor, Oklahoma, and TCU. The Jayhawks are 19-15 ATS and the total is 14-16-1 this season.

Kansas is outscoring teams 75-61 this season. The Jayhawks are in the top 50 nationally in both categories. Kansas is #18 in field goal percentage at 47.8% and  36.8% from three point range. The Jayhawks are shooting 72.8% from the free throw line. Kansas averages 39.1 rebounds per game, and gives up 29.7 per game. The Jayhawks are #17 in rebounding nationally.  Kansas opponents are shooting 35.9% from the field and 31.1% from 3 point range. Kansas is #1 in opponent’s field goal percentage. The Jayhawks average 16 assists, 7 steals, 7 blocks and 14 turnovers a game.

McLemore averages 16.9 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. Center Jeff Withey averages 13.5 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 4 blocks per game. He broke the Big 12 record for blocks in a career a couple of weeks ago.  Guard Travis Releford averages 11.7 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. Guard Elijah Johnson averages  10 points, 3 rebounds, and 4.8 assists per game. Kevin Young averages 7.7 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 1.1 steals per game. Perry Ellis, Naadir Tharpe, Andrew White III and Jamari Taylor make up the rest of the rotation.

North Carolina is coached by Roy Williams. The Tar Heels have losses to Butler in the Maui Invitational, at Indiana, at Texas, at Virginia, Miami three times, Duke twice and at NC State. The Tar Heels have key wins at Long Beach St, against Mississippi St in Maui, UAB, East Carolina, UNLV, Florida St three times, Maryland three times, Georgia Tech twice, at Boston College, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, NC State, and at Clemson. UNC is 20-12 ATS and the total is 15-17 this season.

North Carolina is outscoring teams 77-69 this season. The Tar Heels are #14 in scoring nationally. North Carolina is shooting 44.4% from the field and 37.4% from 3 point range. The Tar Heels make 67.2% of their free throws. UNC averages 38.9 rebounds per game and allows 33.6 per game. The Tar heels are #16 in rebounding but #303 out of 347 teams in rebounds allowed. UNC opponents’ are shooting 42.2% from the field and 35% from 3 point range. The Tar Heels are averaging 17 assists, 8 steals, 3 blocks, and 12 turnovers. UNC is second nationally in assists.

Forward James Michael McAdoo averages 14.4 points, 7.4 rebounds, 1.1 assists, and 1.4 steals per game. Guard/forward Reggie Bullock averages 14.2 points, 6.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 1.3 steals per game. Guard P.J. Hairston averages 14.3 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 1.3 assists. Guard Marcus Paige averages 8 points, 2.7 rebounds, 4.7 assists, and 1.2 steals a game. Leslie McDonald averages 7.4 points, 2.1 rebounds, and 1.2 assists per game. Guard Dexter Strickland averages 8 points, 2.5 rebounds, 4.2 assists, and 1.2 steals. Forward Brice Johnson averages 5.6 points, and 3.3 rebounds per game.

North Carolina is 6-2 ATS after a cover, 9-3 overall, 8-3 against teams with winning records, 14-6 in NCAA tournament games, 7-22 in Sunday games, and 1-4 against Big 12 teams.

Kansas is 10-2 ATS overall, 8-2 after a straight up win, 5-2 against teams with winning records, and 5-2 in neutral site games.

North Carolina wants to run to increase the effectiveness of their small line-up, and Kansas would like to slow it down. I like Kansas to control the tempo and win a close game.

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