(1) Kansas vs. (4) Michigan
(1) Kansas Jayhawks
The Jayhawks were on their way towards being the second number one seed to get bounced in the Round of 32, trailing by nine at the half. They really responded well to the adversity, though, bouncing back in the second half to survive and advance 70-58. In the second half the Jayhawks put up 49 points, an effort spearheaded by Travis Releford. Releford finished with 22, while Jeff Withey anchored the defense like few others in the country can. He finished the game with 16 points, 16 rebounds and five block. The Jayhawks made the Tar Heels pay for playing small, outrebounding them by 17 on a night where the Tar Heels’ shots just weren’t falling. The fact that the Jayhawks were able to survive with Elijah Johnson and Ben McLemore combining to score seven points on 1-15 shooting from the field says a lot about this Jayhawks’ team. Against Michigan, though, they’ll need their backcourt to be at their best because they will have their hands full defensively against Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr.
(4) Michigan Wolverines
The havoc defense that has become so successful for the Virginia Commonwealth Rams could not slow down the potent offensive attack of the Wolverines, who are in the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1994. The Wolverines took care of the basketball, took high percentage shots for the most part and pounded the Rams on the glass as they topped VCU 78-53. The Wolverines got big games from Glenn Robinson III, Hardaway Jr. and Burke as expected, but the surprise performance came from Mitch McGary. He really capitalized on the opportunities the Rams’ defense gave him, going 10-11 from the field and posting up 21 points and 14 rebounds overall. He’s going to have a tough match up in the Sweet 16 against Jeff Withey. If he can hang with him down low and keep Withey from being able to roam freely defensively, the Wolverines can keep this run going onto the Elite Eight.
HOOPSWORLD’s pick: Michigan. The Wolverines will be able to contain the Jayhawks’ backcourt and move into the Elite Eight.