Previewing Kansas

Four years after meeting in the Final Four, Roy Williams will face his former squad again on Sunday in the Elite Eight. North Carolina and Kansas tip-off at the Edward Jones Dome at 5:05 p.m. on CBS.

No. 1 North Carolina (32-5) vs. No. 2 Kansas (30-6)
St. Louis, Mo. -- Edward Jones Dome
Sunday, 5:05 p.m.
CBS (Marv Albert, Steve Kerr, Craig Sager)


"It's hard to get assists though if you never make a shot. I mean we really pass it good." – Kansas coach Bill Self on his team's 35 assists through three NCAAT games

"I hope Kendall can play and I hope he gets better real soon. I love his game." – Kansas senior Tyshawn Taylor on Marshall

"It just comes naturally to me. I played volleyball when I was younger, so I got the timing down pretty well. Last night we knew they were going to attack us inside and a lot of times they spun and didn't really see me coming. So I was able to kind of catch them off guard." – Junior center Jeff Withey on his school-record 10 blocks against N.C. State on Friday


Season to Date: No. 2 seed Kansas enters Sunday's contest with a 31-6 (16-2 Big 12) record. The Jayhawks' losses this year came against Kentucky, Duke, Iowa State, Missouri, Baylor and Davidson. Head coach Bill Self's squad has won 12 of its last 13 games.

NCAA Tournament Results: The Jayhawks coasted past No. 15 seed Detroit, 65-50, in second-round action and then trailed for 39 minutes and change against No. 10 seed Purdue before rallying for a 63-60 victory. Kansas held off No. 11 seed N.C. State, 60-57, on Friday night to advance to the Elite Eight.

Rolling with Mr. Robinson: Thomas Robinson's postseason award list speaks for itself – 2012 National Player of the Year, first-team All-America, consensus Big 12 Player of the Year and All-Big 12 First Team. The junior forward is averaging 17.7 points and 11.9 rebounds per game and has posted double-doubles in eight of his last nine games. Robinson is shooting 51.7 percent from the floor and has also totaled 34 blocks and 41 steals on the defensive end.

Experience at Point: Tyshawn Taylor owns a 125-20 record as a four-year starter in Lawrence, which includes four Big 12 regular-season titles and two trips to the Elite Eight. The senior point guard is averaging 16.6 points and 4.7 assists per game and sports a 1.35:1 assist-turnover ratio, while also connecting on 39.9 percent of his treys. The Hoboken, N.J. product has cooled down from long range recently, however, in missing 15 of his 16 3-point attempts over his last four games. Taylor is only the third player in KU history with 1,400 points, 500 assists and 150 steals.

Junior Rising: Elijah Johnson has increased his scoring production in the month of March, averaging 17.0 points on 56.1 percent shooting (32-of-57). The junior guard has 31 assists and nine turnovers over his last 10 games.

Defense and Rebounding: Kansas leads the Big 12 in rebounding margin, (plus-5.7, 23rd nationally), field goal percentage defense (37.8), scoring defense (61.4) and blocked shots (5.7, 9th nationally), and also rank third in steals (7.4). Junior seven-footer Jeff Withey (3.5 bpg) set the KU single-game record with 10 blocks against N.C. State on Friday. If there is one area where the Jayhawks have struggled defensively, it's defending the 3-point line. Kansas ranks eighth in the league in 3-point field goal percentage defense (34.3).

Take or Leave the 3: The Jayhawks are not a team to live and die by the 3-ball, as evidenced by their 195th national ranking in 3-point field goals made per game (5.8), but they have been effective enough -- 34.6 percent shooting -- to balance out their interior play. That hasn't been the case recently, though. Kansas is shooting just 20.9 percent (14-of-67) from long range over its last four games.

Random Fact of the Day: Kansas is 5-4 against ranked opponents this season.

Last Meeting: The Jayhawks defeated the Tar Heels, 84-66, in the 2008 Final Four in San Antonio. Kansas built a 40-12 first-half lead as UNC went 9:03 without a basket. The Heels closed to within four points in the second half, but ran out of gas as the Jayhawks pulled away down the stretch. Wayne Ellington led UNC with 18 points and Tyler Hansbrough added 17.

Series History: North Carolina leads the all-time series with Kansas, 6-3.

Projected Starters:
10 Tyshawn Taylor (6-3, 185, Sr.) - 16.6 ppg, 4.7 apg
15 Elijah Johnson (6-4, 195, Jr.) - 10.0 ppg, 3.6 apg
24 Travis Releford (6-6, 207, Jr.) - 8.4 ppg, 4.3 rpg
0 Thomas Robinson (6-9, 237, Jr.) - 17.7 ppg, 11.9 rpg
5 Jeff Withey (7-0, 235, Jr.) - 9.1 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 3.5 bpg

Top Reserves:
2 Conner Teahan (6-6, 212, Sr.) - 5.8 ppg, 2.2 rpg
40 Kevin Young (6-8, 185, Jr.) - 3.7 ppg, 2.8 rpg

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(Photos by US Presswire)

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