#2 Kansas Jayhawks vs. #1 North Carolina Tar Heels Preview 3/25/12

Last Updated: March 25th, 2012 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist)
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Two of the most popular choices to beat the March Madness odds are going to square off on Sunday afternoon in what should be a remarkable bout on the Elite 8 odds between the North Carolina Tar Heels and the Kansas Jayhawks.

2012 Elite 8 Matchup: #2 Kansas Jayhawks vs. #1 North Carolina Tar Heels
Midwest Region Location: Scottrade Arena, St. Louis, MO
Elite 8 Date/Time: Sunday, March 23rd, 5:00 p.m.
Kansas vs. North Carolina Television Coverage: CBS

Key #1: UNC has to get over this certain home court disadvantage
The Tar Heels are essentially facing their worst fear in this one. They are taking on the Jayhawks in St. Louis, a city that is traditionally known for its roots in the Big XII, not the ACC. There will be plenty of Carolina Blue in the stands, but that doesn’t mean that the majority still won’t be pulling for Kansas. We have seen the Heels absolutely fall apart in a few games this year that either were true road games or were de facto road games, such as the horrible five touchdown loss to the Florida State Seminoles and the early season upset against the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels. In games like those, the crowd was able to really get the best of the Heels, and without any sort of leadership with experience running the show out of the point guard spot, it is going to be up to the rest of this team to maintain its composure if it wants to go to the Bayou for the Final Four.

Elite 8 Odds at Wager Web Sportsbook
Kansas Jayhawks -2
North Carolina Tar Heels +2
Click Here to Bet Your Elite 8 Picks!

Key #2: Tyshawn Taylor needs to get his head back in the game
Taylor has now had three straight lackluster games here in the tourney, and even though he averaged 16.8 points per game this season, he now has three straight games with just 10 points or fewer. He shot a woeful 0-of-6 from beyond the arc in the win over the NC State Wolfpack on Friday night, and he was a big part of why the team shot 1-of-14 from downtown as a unit. Needless to say, that isn’t going to cut it, and if Taylor is really going to step it up and be the man to lead this team as he was in the regular season, he has to get his stroke back. This was a 49.2 percent shooter and a 41.6 percent three-point shooter during the season, and he really has no excuse for jitters any longer after being in the dance last year as a freshman. Taylor just cannot go MIA in this one, though we know that he is going to have some pain in the neck guards that are very athletic guarding him.

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Key #3: North Carolina has to get an edge on the boards and make it count
It seems likely that Kendall Marshall is going to be missing out on this one again, though obviously, you are going to want to check your injury report before betting this one if you are playing the Elite 8 odds on game day. That being said, just take a look at the rebounding numbers for North Carolina on Friday night with its win over the Ohio Bobcats. Tyler Zeller had 22 boards by himself, while the whole Ohio team only had 26 rebounds. John Henson and Reggie Bullock both ripped down 10 boards apiece, while Harrison Barnes had seven. We just don’t understand how a team this talented won the rebounding battle 56-26 and still had to play in overtime and arguably should have been beaten by a No. 13 seed that was out of one of the worst conferences in America. Jeff Withey and Thomas Robinson aren’t going to let matters be this easy for the Tar Heels on Sunday, and that might make the difference. If UNC does get the edge though, it has to take advantage of its second chance opportunities and to get the ball up the court in transition in a hurry.

Click Here to get the best March Madness picks that you’ll find on the internet, including our NCAA Tournament picks and the Elite 8 picks for the rest of the NCAA Tournament game odds.

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Posted in NCAA Basketball - Last Updated on Sunday, March 25th, 2012 @ 1:26 am (EST)
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