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Waiting on the Sweet Sixteen: A Guide to Kansas-UNC

Michigan won early yesterday and gets to celebrate for a bit while awaiting next Friday's matchup that will be determined today at 5:15 when Kansas and UNC face off in Kansas City, MO. If you're watching the game, check out our handy guide.


(1) Kansas 30-5 (14-4)

Bad Losses: TCU(!)

Good Wins: @Ohio State, vs. St. Louis, KSU (x2), @Okla St, Iowa St (x2)

Kenpom vitals: Ninth overall in Kenpom's composite rankings, 111.6 ORtg, (29th), 86.1 DRtg (7th), 41.3 eFG% (1st)

Dangermen: Jeff Withey - the seven-footer is sixth nationally in block percentage, shoots 57 percent from two and 70 percent from the line. Ben McLemore - wing leads the team in scoring with 16.2 ppg and shoots 56/44/87. Perry Ellis - frosh bench player that cracks 20% usage rate when he is on the court.

The game: The Jayhawks are a defense first team that uses length (36th in eff. height) to challenge shooters and block shots. This keeps KU at the head of the class in eFG% (41.3), 2pt% (39.0), 3rd in Blk% (17.9), and 7th in adj Def (86.1).

On the other side of the ball, Kansas has a balanced offensive attack that attacks inside (277th in 3PA/FGA) with a lot of success (52.8 2pt%, 16th nationally; 40.4 FTA/FGA, 61st nationally).

Fear level: High. The Jayhawks are a big team that can pound the ball inside on offense and affect shots on defense. Michigan has struggled against these kinds of opponents this year, and while Mitch McGary has improved, it may not be enough to deal with Jeff Withey for 40 minutes.

(8) UNC 25-10 (12-6)

Bad losses: @Texas, @ NC State

Good wins: vs. UNLV, vs. UVA, vs. NC State, vs Villanova

Kenpom vitals: 25th in Kenpom's composite rankings, 112.7 ORtg (25th), 93.1 DRtg (48th), 17.3 TO% (36th), 1.23 yrs avg experience (301st).

Dangermen: James McAdoo - 6'9 post player one of three averaging 14 ppg, low eFG% (45.1) and high shot percentage (27.0). Reggie Bullock - wing shoots 56/44/76, averages 14 ppg, and has team's lowest TO%. PJ Hairston - efficient, high-usage scorer that shoots 49/39/78 and averages 14 ppg, also the best wing threat to draw fouls at 4.7 drawn per 40 minutes.

The game: The Tarheels play fast. With an average of 70.6 possessions per game, UNC is 18th in adj tempo. They manage this by rebounding at a decent rate (34.8 OR%, 58.8 DR%), holding on to the ball, and finding players in transition for easy baskets (UNC has an assist rate of 60.5%, 36th in the nation).

Defensively they do a good job forcing turnovers (Stl% 11.2 is 73rd, TO% forced is 21.2, 100th) without fouling (opp. FTA/FGA 26.8). There are no glaring weaknesses, but also no areas UNC particularly dominates.

Fear level: Moderate. UNC is a classic case of a team that beats teams it is supposed to and loses to ones it isn't, Against Kenpom top 50 teams, UNC has just seven wins in 16 tries, including 0-5 against teams in the top-15. The Tarheels aren't physically imposing, and Michigan has shown an affinity for opening things up. This is still a talented team, but if you expect Roy Williams to out coach John Beilein, I have a bridge I'd like to sell you.