The Kansas Jayhawks are coming off a shaky performance against Western Kentucky and to rebound they will have to take on their former coach Roy Williams. Kansas and North Carolina have an intertwined history and in recent years that history has met in the NCAA tournament on this now the third occasion. When Roy Williams left Kansas it was no secret that he had hoped the two programs wouldn't see eachother on the court. That hasn't exactly happened and UNC has gone 0-2 against the Jayhawks since the arrival of Williams. At this point the hatchet is mostly buried with both sides having benefited from the move back in 2003, all that said neither side wants to lose this one.
When: Sunday, March 24, 5:15 PM ET
Where: Sprint Center, Kansas City, MO
No injuries to report.
Strength: Outside Shooting
Unfortunately for the Jayhawks, the one thing that Kansas hates the most the Tarheels do well. Makin' threes. North Carolina loves to take shots outside the paint, three-pointers to be specific. North Carolina has hit 37.6% from beyond the arc this season and has been hitting close to 40% in their last six games. In that six game span, the Tarheels have taken roughly 63% of their shots outside the paint where they've hit about 41%. About 61% of those shots were taken beyond the arc.
In a way, you could compare the Tarheels to the Cyclones, in that they love the three-point shot but play poor defense. That description fits the Tarheels very well. On the season, North Carolina ranks No.242 in scoring defense, allowing teams to hit 42.2% form the field and score 69 PPG. Their defense has gotten worse lately, allowing team to hit 46% form the field and 56.6% inside the paint.
No Injuries to Report
Kansas has been inconsistent in almost every sector possible, except for the defense. Kansas always plays good defense (except against Oklahoma State and Baylor). On the season, Kansas has ranked No.1 in field goal defense, allowing teams to hit just 36% while allowing only 61.5 PPG. Kansas should have little difficulty staving off the Tarheels outside attack as Kansas has allowed team to hit just 32% outside the paint and just 31% from beyond the arc this season.
Weakness: Ball Control
Kansas weld to under 70 points for the 13th time this season when they played Western Kentucky, and a huge contributor to that offensive futility was the turnovers. The Jayhawks already turn the ball over a lot as it is, 14 TPG, but when you turn the ball over 17 times, you can't except to win, not against a team like North Carolina. Most of those turnovers weren't even forced, just lazy play. The main butterfingers on the Jayhawks roster is Elijah Johnson, who averages close to three a game.
Kansas has gone 6-0 when playing in the Sprint Center this season, and has a great chance of extending that win streak to seven on Sunday. Wether Kansas shows up or not will be the question. Kansas looked like they were ready to make history against WKU and just looked awful, hopefully that was because they underplayed the Hilltoppers. Bill Self shouldn't have a problem getting his team fired up against UNC, though. North Carolina will find it difficult to score against Kansas, going up against a real defense. Kansas has beaten Texas Tech, Iowa State and K-State three times in a row this season and should be looking to extend their win streak over UNC to three as well.