The Oregon Ducks went through a legendary Kansas program to reach the Final Four where they will face an even more storied college basketball program in North Carolina at 3 p.m. on Saturday at the Final Four in Phoenix, Ariz.
The No. 1 Tar Heels won the South Region today by defeating No. 2 Kentucky, 75-73 in Memphis, Tenn.
Oregon (33-5) put on a spectacular performance while upsetting the No. 1 Jayhawks (31-5) in the Midwest Regional finals Saturday in Kansas City, Mo. The Ducks might need an equally great showing to do the same to the Tar Heels (31-7).
North Carolina is one of the deepest teams in the nation, often playing a 10-man rotation, as it did Sunday against the Wildcats (32-5).
Plus, the Tar Heels have tons of front court depth, something UO sorely lacks. The Ducks play just two players taller than 6-foot-7, junior forward Jordan Bell (6-9) and junior forward Kavell Bigby-Williams (6-10). Only Bell is a consistent performer. So much so that he was named the Midwest Regional MVP.
The Tar Hells, coached by Roy Williams (814-216 overall, 396-115 at NC), rotate five players that stand 6-8 or better: Senior Kennedy Meeks (6-10), freshman Tony Bradley (6-10), senior Isaiah Hicks (6-9), junior Justin Jackson (6-8) and sophomore Luke Maye (6-8).
Maye hit the game-winning jump shot with .3 seconds remaining to defeat Kentucky. Jackson is an All-American averaging 18.2 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. Meeks gives the Tar Heels 12.5 points and 9.1 rebounds per game.
Despite all of the team's size, NC averages a modest three blocked shots per game. Bell had eight blocks against Kansas and is averaging 2.3 on the season.
North Carolina has an elite point guard in Joel Berry II, who is averaging 14.7 points and 3.6 assists per game.
NC's size certainly will provide a test inside for the Ducks. But Oregon can counter with the hottest offensive player in the nation in sophomore guard Tyler Dorsey, and Pac-12 player of the year, junior forward Dillon Brooks.
History of success is certainly on North Carolina's side. The Tar Heels, producer of legendary stars like James Worthy, Michael Jordan and Vince Carter, will be going to their 20th Final Four seeking their sixth national title. Most recent titles came in 209 and 2005. NC lost the national championship game last season to Villanova.
The Ducks will be making their first trip to the Final Four, but second to the semifinals. When the Ducks won the 1939 national title there was no formal Final Four round held at a single site.