Posted by Brandon Rink on March 24, 2012 under ACC Basketball | Comments are off for this article
Did you hear Roy Williams coached at Kansas? Crazy, right? (Pic per OrangeandWhite.com)
Midwest: (1) UNC vs. (2) Kansas, 5:05 (ET) Sun., CBS, St. Louis, MO
Coaches Tourney Records: UNC – Roy Williams 61-19 (7-4 in the Elite 8); Kansas – Bill Self – 29-12 (1-5 in the Elite 8).
UNC Has to Stop: F Thomas Robinson (Junior, 6-10 237, 17.5 PPG/11.9 RPG) – While fellow leading-scorer G Tyshawn Taylor has had his share of troubles this tournament, Robinson has shined – posting 15 points and 13.6 rebounds per game. (Bonus player to watch is 7’0 center Jeff Withey, who had a season-high 10 blocks against NC State Friday).
Stat to Watch: Harrison Barnes’ line – Kansas presents a number of problems defensively allowing 61.4 points per game and ranked fourth nationally in field goal percentage defense (38 percent). They held the Wolfpack to 28 percent shooting with ELEVEN blocks Friday. Points in the paint will be much more of an issue here than against Ohio, which means Barnes can’t go 3-for-16 again – he has to hit shots early and often for the wounded Heels to move on to the Final Four.
What I’m Thinking: Last season, the Elite 8 was the end of the road for the Tar Heels and Jayhawks. UNC/Kansas features a frontcourt matchup with big men who typically own the paint on both ends, and the two teams may very well cancel each other out – putting pressure on the guards to step up. UNC’s depth won’t be all that big an issue here as the Jayhawks’ starting-five all played over 30 minutes against NC State. Kansas hasn’t exactly blown away its last two opponents – twin 3-point wins over double-digit seeds’ Purdue and NC State, which you can look at in a couple ways…one, they haven’t played their best and are due for a big game, or they’re just not in a groove right now.
I’ve been trying to convince myself the Tar Heels take this since I picked them to win it all, but UNC without (or with a limited) Kendall Marshall and a pressing Harrison Barnes just isn’t the same team I picked. Tyshawn Taylor has a big game and his Jayhawks edge out another one to eliminate the ACC from the NCAA Tourney.
Posted by Brandon Rink on March 22, 2012 under ACC Basketball | Comments are off for this article
Does NC State have one more upset in them to set up a possible Wolfpack-Heels IV? (Pic per OrangeandWhite.com)
Midwest: (2) Kansas vs. (11) NC State, 10:17 (ET) Fri., TBS, St. Louis, MO
Coaches Tourney Records: NC State – Mark Gottfried 7-7 (1-0 in the Sweet 16); Kansas – Bill Self – 28-12 (5-2 in the Sweet 16).
NC State Has to Stop: F Thomas Robinson (Junior, 6-10 237, 17.5 PPG/11.8 RPG) – Robinson is a part of a duo with senior guard Tyshawn Taylor averaging over 17 points per game, but Purdue was able to stay close in the second round with Robinson going 2-for-12 from the field with 7 of his 11 points coming from the free throw line.
Stat to Watch: Lorenzo Brown’s line – While C.J. Leslie has been outstanding down the stretch, Brown has really picked it up come the NCAA Tourney – averaging 14.5 PPG/7.5 APG/7.5 RPG. The Jayhawks are a 2-seed for a reason, as they do a lot of things right, but if Brown keeps up this production, the Wolfpack has a chance.
What I’m Thinking: Is this where NC State’s luck runs out? (Or more accurately, is there where the Wolfpack can’t perform to the level they have down the stretch?) Kansas has something to prove after a couple seasons in a row of underperforming as a 1-seed (second round and Elite 8 exits), and have dynamic scorers on the perimeter and in the paint with Taylor and Robinson. Bill Self’s Jayhawks are also one of the top defensive teams in the country (allowing 61.5 PPG) with perimeter defense their main weakness. Like I said above, Brown’s surge leading the Wolfpack attack has put them over the top against two higher seeded teams so far, and he’ll have to be on again to make it a third Friday.
Posted by Brandon Rink on under ACC Basketball | Comments are off for this article
UNC's size should affect Ohio, but the Bobcats' tough defense could make things interesting if Kendall Marshall is out (Pic per OrangeandWhite.com).
Midwest: (1) UNC vs. (13) Ohio, 7:47 (ET) Fri., TBS, St. Louis, MO
Coaches Tourney Records: UNC – Roy Williams 60-19 (10-4 in the Sweet 16); Ohio – John Groce – 3-1 (0-0 in the Sweet 16).
UNC Has to Stop: G D.J. Cooper (5-11 165, Junior, 14.9 PPG/5.7 APG) – This isn’t Cooper’s first Dance, posting 23 and 16 points in Ohio’s last Sweet 16 run as a freshman two years ago, and he’s only improved this time around – averaging 18.6 points and 6.4 assists per game in the Bobcats’ last nine.
Stat to Watch: Turnovers – Ohio is third nationally in turnovers forced per game (17.1), while UNC only commits 11.6 turnovers on average. And of course, with the possibility of no Kendall Marshall as the floor general…this becomes even more of an issue.
What I’m Thinking: If there’s a team in position to be the lowest seed to ever make the Final Four, it’s Ohio. They have the tournament experience, play defense like crazy and feature a fairly up-tempo style to run with UNC…and face a wounded Tar Heels team, a possibly out or definitely limited Kendall Marshall and now the forgotten injured-one John Henson, who’s not completely healthy either with a wrist injury of his own. It seems like UNC is backed into a corner here and already playing the ‘national media disrespect’ card – Tyler Zeller and co. should step up enough to make it through to the Elite 8 and we’ll see where it goes from there with the possibility of a fourth NC State-UNC game.