Kansas vs. North Carolina: Key Match-ups

By Anthony Lenahan
Kevin Jairaj-USA Today Sports

One of the most anticipated third round match-ups of the NCAA tournament is No. 8 North Carolina vs. No. 1 KansasRoy Williams is on top of the headlines as he will face Kansas, the school he used to coach, for the third time since coming to North Carolina.

It will be a very difficult task for Coach Williams to coach his team to an upset victory, but the Tar Heels definitely have a chance.  If they are going to do so, Carolina will have to shut down Kansas’ main offensive options.

With that being said, let’s take a look at a couple of key match-ups in today’s game:

Reggie Bullock vs. Ben McLemore: The Jayhawks swingman is one of the most talented freshmen in the nation.  He is Kansas’ leading scorer with 16.2 points per game, but is only averaging seven points in his last three games.  Bullock will most likely be matched up against McLemore and will have the task to defend him.  Bullock’s length and athleticism will make it difficult for McLemore to get off uncontested jump shots.  Bullock has two inches on McLemore and the weight advantage.  As good as McLemore is, Bullock has the ability to shut him down.

James Michael McAdoo vs. Jeff Withey: With the small starting lineup North Carolina has gone to, McAdoo now has to play a true center position.  He isn’t the tallest or strongest player for that task and today he has to go up against a 7 footer in Withey.  Withey needs to take advantage of his size down low on offense and on the boards, but McAdoo can also take advantage of Withey.  McAdoo loves to drive from outside the paint and that is where Withey struggles.  Both players have advantages in this match-up, but who will exploit their advantage the most?

P.J. Hairston vs. Kevin Young/Perry Ellis: Playing forward at 6-foot-5 always creates for a disadvantage and that is exactly what Hairston is up against.  Both Young and Ellis, who Hairston will have to guard, are both 6-foot-8.  They have the clear height advantage, but Hairston will be very physical with both.  He outweighs Young, in all muscle by 30 pounds and Ellis has only five pounds on Hairston.  Hairston’s physical play will be the difference in this match-up as he needs to be able to limit second chance points and points in the paint by the Kansas big men.

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