South Re­gional Tar Heels face Wild­cats in bat­tle of ti­tans

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Teresa M. Walker

mem­phis, tenn.» Roy Williams wanted an­other chance at Ken­tucky af­ter his North Carolina Tar Heels lost to the Wild­cats in De­cem­ber.

John Cali­pari is cer­tain some­one knew he hoped not to see North Carolina in the same bracket.

Well, Williams got what he wanted, even if col­lege bas­ket­ball’s most sto­ried pro­grams might’ve wanted to meet at the Fi­nal Four. In­stead, top-seeded North Carolina and No. 2 seed Ken­tucky will meet Sun­day in the South Re­gional fi­nal that will make more his­tory fea­tur­ing teams with the most com­bined NCAA Tour­na­ment wins.

“That’s what we come to col­lege bas­ket­ball for, and it doesn’t get any bet­ter than this,” North Carolina ju­nior guard Joel Berry II said Satur­day. “We lost to them early in the sea­son, so it was kind of an­other re­venge game for us . ... These are the type of games we want to be in.”

This will be the fourth time these teams have met in the tour­na­ment, all re­gional fi­nals. North Carolina has a 2-1 edge so far.

Ken­tucky (32-5) just got its own pay­back for a reg­u­lar-sea­son loss Fri­day night, beat­ing UCLA 86-75 in a re­gional semi­fi­nal pair­ing of col­lege bas­ket­ball’s glamor teams that wound up set­ting the ta­ble for an even big­ger show­down.

North Carolina and Ken­tucky can go toe-to­toe when com­par­ing daz­zling suc­cess.

The Wild­cats not only have more vic­to­ries than any­one else, the pro­gram built by Adolph Rupp also has the most NCAA Tour­na­ment wins with 124 and berths with 56. No coach has more than Cali­pari’s 26 tour­na­ment wins since he took over Ken­tucky.

North Carolina is sec­ond only to Ken­tucky with its 48 NCAA Tour­na­ment ap­pear­ances and 120 wins. The Tar Heels (30-7) ad­vanced by beat­ing But­ler 92-80 as they try to get back to the na­tional cham­pi­onship game lost a year ago on the fi­nal shot of the sea­son.

Ken­tucky is try­ing to get back to the Fi­nal Four for the fifth time in Cali­pari’s eight sea­sons.

“Ev­ery game for Ken­tucky is go­ing to be big, I think,” Wild­cats fresh­man Ma­lik Monk said. “So that’s the big­gest key why we came here.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.