(2) Kansas vs. (11) N.C. State Preview
Senior NBA Writer & College Basketball Editor
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(2) Kansas Jayhawks
In order to go on a deep tournament run you have to win ugly, when you’re not playing your best. The Jayhawks managed to do that against Purdue, winning 63-60 after trailing for the majority of the contest. Early on it was the Robbie Hummel show for Purdue. The resilient forward scored 26 points and grabbed nine rebounds, but did most of his work in the first half as the Jayhawks changed up their defense against him in the second period. It took the Jayhawks awhile to adjust to the lack of offensive production from their star Thomas Robinson. He missed all but two of his 12 attempts, but guards Tyshawn Taylor, Elijah Johnson and Travis Releford were there to take over. Johnson scored a team-high 18, including the go-ahead layup with 25 seconds left while Taylor recorded 10 points to go along with his four assists. The guards will have to step up again in the Sweet 16 against N.C. State since Robinson is going to have his hands full against a stout Wolfpack frontline.
(11) N.C. State Wolfpack
Calling the Wolfpack an 11 seed or Cinderella just doesn’t seem fitting because they’re better than that and they showed it against Georgetown. The Wolfpack battled back from 10 down late in the first half to take the lead at the half and establish their own 10 point lead with 13 minutes remaining. The Hoyas made a run and kept it close, but clutch free throw shooting from Lorenzo Brown ended their season as they fell 66-63. C.J. Leslie was one of three players to score 14 for the Wolfpack along with Scott Wood and C.J. Williams. It wasn’t their best shooting night, evident by the 37 percent they shot from the field, but they were relentless in getting the charity stripes. They made 19 free throws, which was more than the Hoyas attempted. The Wolfpack can look at what Purdue did defensively as a blueprint of how to play against the Jayhawks in the Sweet 16. If Leslie can outperform Robinson, they have a chance to keep their season alive.
HOOPSWORLD’s pick: N.C. State. The Wolfpack’s confidence is at an all-time high. We expect their balanced play to get them the upset victory over Kansas.