North Carolina (29-5) vs. Kansas (26-7)

Outlook: These teams are mirror images in terms of playing style, since Kansas coach Roy Williams was a longtime assistant to Dean Smith at North Carolina. The biggest difference is that the Tar Heels are much bigger, and that could determine the outcome. This should be a bit more low-scoring than the teams normally play, given the stakes and the familiarity.

Guards: This was once considered North Carolina's weak link. Junior Hubert Davis has proved to be one of the best streak shooters in the country and senior King Rice, booed at home earlier in the season, has played solidly the past two months. Kansas sophomore Adonis Jordan might be a bit flashier than Rice at the point and junior Terry Brown just as streaky as Davis at off-guard. Right now, Davis is hotter. EDGE: NORTH CAROLINA

Forwards: Senior Rick Fox and sophomore George Lynch are future pros, and are just as effective 10 feet from the basket (or in Fox's case, 20 feet) as they are going inside. Senior Mike Maddox is one of Kansas' unsung heroes, setting picks and doing a lot of the dirty work. Meanwhile, junior Alonzo Jamison is coming off a 26-point, nine rebound performance against Arkansas. EDGE: NORTH CAROLINA

Center: Pete Chilcutt will also be playing in the NBA next year, at 6-9 and 230 strong and agile, but he has struggled of late. Senior Mark Randall has made a big deal about not wearing the ring from the Jayhawks' 1988 championship team -- he was redshirted -- but should Kansas get past North Carolina, he will have to play a big role. EDGE: KANSAS

Bench: The Tar Heels go 10 or 11 deep, with Eric Montross leading the most talented group of freshmen in the country and sophomore Henrik Rodl capable of some quality minutes. But sometimes the Blue team helps North Carolina extend its lead, and sometime it gives it back, as was the case against Temple in last week's East Regional final. The Jayhawks go eight or nine deep. Freshman guard Sean Tunstall gives Kansas a deep threat, junior center Richard Scott a solid inside player and freshman swingman Steve Woodberry a little of both. Scott sprained his ankle and is questionable for today. EDGE: KANSAS

Coach: Dean Smith has won 717 games in 30 years. His protege, Roy Williams, has won 75 in three. Smith has been to seven Final Fours -- this is No. 8 -- and has won once (in 1982). Though many would believe Smith has an advantage, don't be fooled by Williams' relative inexperience. This guy can coach. EDGE: NORTH CAROLINA

What the Tar Heels have to do to win: Shoot well early from the outside to soften up the inside. Put a lot of pressure on Jordan and Jamison.

What the Jayhawks have to do to win: Be as relentless on the boards as they were last week in Charlotte and continue their hot shooting from the free-throw line. If they revert to 61.9 percent regular-season form, it could be a long afternoon.

9- Prediction: North Carolina 72, Kansas 68.


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