Kansas looks to advance to Sweet 16 in the South Region
Three games are on tap in the South region of the NCAA Tournament today. After today’s round of games, each region will have just four teams remaining that will participate in the Sweet 16 next week. In one of the games on tap today, the No. 1 seeded Kansas Jayhawks take on the No. 8 seeded North Carolina Tar Heels.
This game will have extra meeting for North Carolina Head Coach Roy Williams. Williams coached the Kansas Jayhawks for 15 seasons reaching four Final Fours, while winning two national championships. In his nine seasons for North Carolina since leaving Kansas, Williams has led the Tar Heels to one national championship. Williams won his 700th game on Friday, but since joining North Carolina has lost both head-to-head matchups versus Kansas – in last season’s Elite Eight and in the Final Four in 2008.
In Friday’s win, P.J. Hairston who scored 23 points led North Carolina. North Carolina did not start their season strong, but have won 9 of their past 11 games overall and reached the final of the ACC tournament before falling to Miami.
Four seniors who start and one of the most talented freshmen players in the country in Ben McClemore lead Kansas. Kansas survived an upset bid by Western Kentucky in the first round to reach this point. Jeff Withey scored 17 points to lead Kansas and added an amazing 7 blocked shots. This season Kansas became the first Division I team in history to have four consecutive seasons of 30 or more games won.
In another great matchup on tap today No. 3 seeded Florida with a record of 27-7 is taking on No. 11 seeded Minnesota 21-12. In their opening round matchup, Florida limited their opponent, Northwestern State, the nation’s highest scoring team with a season average of 81 points per game, to only 15 points in the second half. For the game, the Gators only gave up 47 points.
Minnesota reached the second round after defeating the higher seeded UCLA Bruins on Friday night. The Golden Gophers defense held the Bruins to only a 31.7% shooting percentage from the floor. UCLA’s starters only hit 13 of their 52 shots.
Florida has a balanced attack on offense and one of the strongest defenses in all of NCAA basketball. Seniors Kenny Boynton, Mike Rosario and Erick Murphy lead the Gators. Minnesota’ Andre Hollins leads the team on offense. Hollins scored 28 points in the win over UCLA on Friday.
The third and final game in the south region will pit the No. 7 seeded San Diego State Aztecs versus the No. 15 seeded Florida Gulf Coast Eagles. The Eagles defeated Georgetown in the first round for one of the biggest upsets in the tournament to date. The Eagles are attempting to be the first No. 15 seed to reach the Sweet 16.
There were 6 previous No. 15 seeds that tried, but all six lost in the round of 32. The Eagles are winners of six consecutive games.
For San Diego State, Jamaal Franklin had 21 points in their first round win and has scored in double figures in 30 games this season. When the Aztecs hold their opponents to less than 40% shooting, they are 19-3.