The No. 2 seed Kansas Jayhawks will face off against the No. 1 seed North Carolina Tar Heels on Sunday in the Midwest Regional Final in St. Louis.
Both top seeds survived upset-minded competition throughout the tournament's early rounds and now find themselves in the Elite Eight, one win away from the Final Four in New Orleans.
Where: Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis, MO
When: Sunday, March 25, 5:05 p.m. ET
Watch: CBS or stream live at CBSSports.com
Listen: Lawrence: KKSW-FM 105.9; Chapel Hill: WCHL 1360 AM
Kansas -2 over North Carolina, according to covers.com. Before the tournament began, the Tar Heels were a solid bet over the Jayhawks in the Elite Eight, but the loss of floor general Kendall Marshall to a bum wrist has certainly diminished Carolina's chances of reaching the Final Four.
Kendall Marshall (UNC): Marshall, one of the nation's best passers, averaged nearly 10 assists per game for the Tar Heels before going down with a wrist injury and will likely miss Sunday's matchup with Kansas after missing Friday's win over Ohio in the Sweet 16.
What's at Stake?
A ladder to cut down the nets and a trip to New Orleans for the Final Four are at stake on Sunday in this epic Midwest Region Final between two of college basketball's more storied programs. The Tar Heels won it all in 2009, and the year before it was Kansas taking home the national championship.
What They're Saying
Injured Tar Heels point guard Kendall Marshall declined to confirm or deny if he would play in Sunday's game against Kansas after Friday's overtime win over Ohio, but he did exhibit confidence in his teammates going forward.
Marshall said, according to newsobserver.com: "We’ve fought through extreme circumstances. I don’t think any team has been through what we’ve been through when it comes to player personnel."
Kansas Jayhawks double-double machine Thomas Robinson spoke to LJWorld.com about the importance of a quick start in St. Louis on Sunday against North Carolina.
"The lid is going to come off the basket for us eventually, we probably have to come out a little better...coming out slow against a team like North Carolina won’t do us too good," said Robinson.
Most Important Player to Watch: Tyler Zeller, North Carolina
Tar Heels seven-foot senior Tyler Zeller will be the most important player on the floor Sunday. Zeller posted 20 points and 23 huge rebounds in Friday night's win over Ohio.
If the big man can stay out of foul trouble, run the floor and make life difficult for Kansas' Thomas Robinson on the glass, then UNC will be cutting down the nets before heading to New Orleans.
Key Matchup: Stilman White vs. Kansas Guards
White played 32 minutes Friday night against Ohio, but he was hardly explosive in backup duty for the injured Kendall Marshall. White scored two points from the free-throw line and shot 0-of-4 from the field.
The good news for Tar Heels fans is that White notched six assists and zero turnovers, which is exactly what UNC needs against talented Kansas guards Tyshawn Taylor and Elijah Johnson, who can both pass as well as light it up from anywhere on the floor.
White doesn't need to be Marshall for UNC to win, just a role player that goes unnoticed while the big names on North Carolina's roster do their thing.
I liked North Carolina to win this matchup before the tournament began and I still like their chances even without Marshall at the point. The Jayhawks are struggling mightily on the offensive end and another slow start on Sunday will cost them a shot at the Final Four.
North Carolina 67, Kansas 60