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The View from a Very Flat State

Rock Chalk Talk runs down Carolina for the benefit of Kansas fans. Most of it's what you would expect - great offense, their offensive rebounding should give the Jayhawks fits, good free throw shooting, suspect defense, random dig for losing to Maryland - although I think he greatly underestimates UNC's depth.

Kansas was the only team I was more concerned about than Louisville. They're a more talented Clemson, with a powerful front court to push around Hansbrough and company, and quick defensive guards that nets them plenty of steals. This team has the offensive and defensive numbers of the 2005 Tar Heel team, and stat-wise they've been far and away the best team all season.

That being said, there are a few things mentioned as asides in the Kansas preview that puts my mind at ease. Namely:

  • The Jayhawks Tempo Problems. Namely, that Bill Self wants to play slow, and his players want to run the ball. The end result of this tension seems to be that Kansas lets their opponent dictate the pace, which bodes well for UNC. Kansas didn't play too many running teams, the most notable being the Kansas State team that split their two games and a surprisingly difficult Baylor team. Kansas has the depth to keep up with Carolina's personnel, but it's a difficult adjustment to make if you're unfamiliar with it.
  • Kansas's Three-Point Defense Kansas encourages their opponents to shoot the three, and are only average at defending it. Now, UNC shoots less threes than practically everyone in the country, but that doesn't mean they can't. They hit over 40% in most of their games in March, and Ellington and Green in particular have become terrific judges of when to use the shot to crush any nascent runs from their opponents. With a defense overly focused on Hansbrough, a good perimeter offense could stymie the Jayhawks.
  • Oklahoma State. As in, team-that-embarassed-the-Kansas-offense-on-their-way-to-a-late-February-win Oklahoma State. Say what you will about Maryland, at least they didn't fire their coach after the season.