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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Wolfpack size up KU-UNC

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Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self

Kansas coach Bill Self talks to reporters following the Jayhawks' 60-57 victory over N.C. State in the Sweet 16 on March 23, 2012.

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Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU players Thomas Robinson and Jeff Withey

KU players Thomas Robinson and Jeff Withey talk to reporters following the Jayhawks' 60-57 victory over N.C. State on March 23, 2012.

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Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

N.C. State's Mark Gottfried, C.J. Leslie and Scott Wood

N.C. State's Mark Gottfried, C.J. Leslie and Scott Wood talk to reporters following their 60-57 loss to Kansas on March 24, 2012.

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KU vs. N.C. State

Box score

— During the past three months, North Carolina State’s men’s basketball team has faced the two teams left standing in the Midwest Regional of this year’s NCAA Tournament a combined four times.

That kind of makes the Wolfpack players well suited to break down Sunday’s Elite Eight showdown between top-seeded North Carolina and second-seeded Kansas, which knocked off N.C. State, 60-57, Friday at Edward Jones Dome.

“It’s pretty much just gonna be a battle,” junior center DeShawn Painter said of the KU-UNC game. “Kansas’ front line is big. North Carolina’s front line is big. So it’s gonna be a match-up of big guys in the paint.”

While the importance of the paint was universally emphasized in the N.C. State locker room following the game, the NCSU players were not able to agree fully upon which team would have the advantage Sunday.

Some, such as Painter, believe North Carolina has too much firepower for Kansas, which typically plays just seven guys.

“I think Carolina has the upper hand,” Painter said. “They’re just deeper. If Thomas Robinson and the other big kid (KU center Jeff Withey) get into foul trouble, it could be tough for them.”

During Friday’s Sweet 16 victory against the Wolfpack, the Jayhawks played eight guys, but that included sophomore forward Justin Wesley, who logged just two minutes.

The Tar Heels, meanwhile, also played eight guys in their 73-65 victory against Ohio, which helped set up the fifth NCAA Tournament meeting between KU and UNC but the first to take place outside of the Final Four.

However, UNC’s rotation did not include injured point guard Kendall Marshall, who missed the game because of a wrist injury that required surgery earlier in the week.

Whether Marshall will play Sunday is up in the air and no doubt will be the source of a good chunk of today’s media sessions. But the biggest question floating around St. Louis also serves as a tipping point for the Elite Eight showdown, according to the N.C. State crew.

“Well, it will be a great game,” N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried said. “Two great teams, two teams with great size, both well coached. North Carolina’s obviously a little different if Kendall Marshall doesn’t play, but it will be a great game. We’re just disappointed we’re not in it.”

Asked why Marshall’s presence would be so important, N.C. State guard Alex Johnson pointed to the way KU guards Tyshawn Taylor and Elijah Johnson controlled the pace of play despite not playing their best games statistically. The N.C. State reserve said he also was impressed with the way the Tar Heels fought off an upset-minded Ohio squad, but did not seem so sure that the same type of effort would be enough to knock off Kansas.

“They did a good job out here tonight, playing against Ohio,” Alex Johnson said of North Carolina. “But Kansas is a whole different breed than Ohio.”

Friday’s loss was close on the scoreboard mostly because of a late N.C. State surge. Otherwise, Kansas held NCSU at arm’s length for most of the second half.

“They’re both two tough teams,” Johnson said. “I don’t think either one is tougher than the other. I think Kansas’ guards are a little better, especially if North Carolina has to play without Kendall Marshall. But it’ll be a good game.”

Comments

Scott Smetana 2 years ago

I second what many of you have said above. Basketball has no business in a dome. While this is obvious, the NCAA doesn't seem to care except make a just few more bucks. The real $ comes from tv rights, which I assume are the same regardless of arena size. There are so many amazing NBA arenas!

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Joel Thomas 2 years ago

It will be nice to finally not be the favorite. Sure Marshall won't play but even then less on the shoulders of the Hawks.

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4Runner 2 years ago

Go ahead Roy, put Marshall in,,, A point guard who will only be able to work the ball effectively on one side of his body will be exploited by our guards and a liability to UNC.

Rock Chalk Jayhawks!! All year long you have shown the strength of TRUE teamwork, contributing however you can, having your teammates back, never giving up while finding a way to get it done,,, Jayhawk nation now has your back,,, From here on out just go out there and have a blast! It's all good boys,,, You ARE WINNERS!! You ARE JAYHAWKS!! ROCK CHALK!!

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JD Roth 2 years ago

Just win baby!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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leonard 2 years ago

I'm not going to verify the accuracy but the site statsontapp.com (http://statsontapp.com/2012/03/11/selection-sunday-the-2012-ncaa-mens-basketball-tourney-is-here/?like=1) shows that KU has the most NCAA tourney wins 2000- to present.

Number 2? North Carolina.

KU - 34 UNC - 32 Mich.St - 31 Duke - 31

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Since79 2 years ago

JEFF MUTOMBO for president!

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David Lara 2 years ago

Gotta love Painter's idiotic lack of respect for Withey. "That other big kid." oh do you mean the one that was swatting your a$$ on a consistent basis Friday night? What tool doesn't remember the name of the guy that owned him the entire game? Who does he think he is fooling?

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Robert Murphy 2 years ago

Kansas may be the first college team in history to get to the final four without making a basket. How do they do it?

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ny05ks08 2 years ago

At the beginning of the season, nobody expected Jayhawk still stay in the field this time of the year, for that, I solute the coaching stuff and players ! Go enjoy the remaining games.

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ny05ks08 2 years ago

There is >60% chance that Marshall will play the next game, so get ready for that.

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rockchalkjayhawkku 2 years ago

UNC will probably play without Marshall...but it kind of reminds me of the 2004 Midwest Regional Final...also in St. Louis, where KU lost to Georgia Tech...who was missing their top scorer BJ Elder to an ankle injury. Hopefully this game will have a different result for KU.

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kkoenig 2 years ago

House money now. KU's played to its seed. There'll be no Bucknell, no VCU for the Hawks this year. Time to play without pressure. Nothing on the line but leaving your mark over last year's team: Final Four.

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JakeBarnes 2 years ago

I live twelve miles from the Astrodome. I think the UCLA v. UH in the sixties was the first dome type game in basketball. I hated it, not the outcome but the affect it had on the players. I wish they would stick to basketball arenas.

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yates33333 2 years ago

I agree. Football ought to be the game played at the Dome. But I think nerves and the pressure of a one loss playoff system are important as well. Taylor hasn't had the kind of game during the playoffs that he had toward the end of the season. He sounds nervous. If there is one game I want them to win this season, it's against UNC. Of course, I want them to win it and then the next two. Relax Jayhawks. The Jayhawk Nation is very proud of you.

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Alohahawk 2 years ago

Why is it KU's guards seem to shoot so poorly from beyond the arc during tournament games? The defenses aren't that much better. Not that I can see, anyway. I'm still somewhat surprised that, after shooting so poorly from beyond the arc, KU continued shooting 3's. What were they - 1 for 15 or so? > After such a horrible shooting performance by TT, I hope he'll come back with a vengeance against N. Carolina. Look at it this way, he can't shoot much worse. > And finally, KU needs to do better on their freethrows. Are these huge arenas throwing off everyone's shots - threes and frees?

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