Kansas was able to overcome a slow start to defeat North Carolina 70--58, and will be heading to the Sweet Sixteen for the sixth time in seven seasons. Bill Self's team overcame prolonged first-half shooting droughts that led to a nine-point halftime deficit. But the Jayhawks defensive intensity appeared to double in the second half, as the Jayhawks came out swinging to the tune of a 26-12 run.
Kansas guard Travis Releford had the game of his life, scoring 22 on nine of 13 shooting. The Kansas City native -- one of four senior starters -- wowed his hometown crowd with incredible finishes. Jeff Withey had a double-double, scoring 16 points and grabbing 16 rebounds to go along with five blocks.
A tough draw for anyone in the tournament, No. 9 North Carolina struck early and often. The Tar Heels kept Withey out of the paint and hit some timely three-pointers. But P.J. Hairston and James Michael McAdoo went cold, finishing a combined 11 of 36 from the field. This is the second year the Tar Heels have been knocked out by Kansas.
Kansas is the third No. 1 seed to reach the Sweet Sixteen. Lousiville and Indiana punched their tickets while Gonzaga was sent home by Wichita State.
The Jayahawks now get No. 4 Michigan on Friday. The Wolverines clobbered VCU on Saturday to advance to the Sweet Sixteen. For an updated bracket, dribble yourself on over here.