2011-12 Record: 31–6 (16–2 Big 12)
Head Coach: Bill Self (2nd Final Four)
Projected Starters: G – Tyshawn Taylor (16.7 ppg, 4.7 apg, 2.3 rpg), G – Elijah Johnson (10.0 ppg, 3.6 apg, 3.1 rpg), F – Travis Releford (8.5 ppg), F – Thomas Robinson (17.7 ppg, 11.8 rpg, 51.2 FG%), C – Jeff Withey (9.2 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 3.5 bpg, 54.8 FG%)
Will win the national title if… Senior point guard Tyshawn Taylor can finally find his 3-point stroke (0-of-17 from 3 in NCAA Tourney), backcourt mate Elijah Johnson plays as well in the clutch as he did against North Carolina and the big men — Thomas Robinson and Jeff Withey — keep doing what they’ve done all season long, which is score easy baskets down low and protect the rim defensively.
Will lose to Ohio State on Saturday if… coach Bill Self’s squad plays the way they did for the first 37 minutes against UNC, when KU allowed the undermanned Tar Heels to hang around due to the Jayhawks’ poor decision-making on sloppy turnovers, ill-advised shots and lazy defense. A 12–0 run over the final 3:09 made the final margin 80–67, but KU must be more consistent vs. OSU.
Best Team: Kansas
Biggest Upset: NC State over Georgetown
Most Surprising Team: Ohio
Most Disappointing Team: Michigan
Best Player: Thomas Robinson, Kansas. Falling one rebound short of four straight double-doubles, Robinson averaged 15.8 points and 12.5 boards en route to leading the Jayhawks to New Orleans.
Honorable Mention: Jeff Withey, Kansas; Tyler Zeller, North Carolina; D.J. Cooper, Ohio; Walter Offutt, Ohio; Lorenzo Brown, NC State; C.J. Leslie, NC State; Robbie Hummel, Purdue
Best Game: North Carolina 73, Ohio 65 (ot), Sweet 16 — The first and only overtime game thus far in the NCAA Tournament showed just how vulnerable the Tar Heels were without injured point guard Kendall Marshall. UNC sweated out a close call win over Ohio.
Most Disappointing Game: Kansas 80, North Carolina 67, Elite Eight — Kansas led 68–67 in a back-and-forth fight with UNC before Elijiah Johnson’s bold 3-pointer ignited a 12–0 run by the Jayhawks, stomping the Tar Heels out of the Big Dance.
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